In the early 1990s, Lou Gerstner, then head of IBM, wrote a book entitled Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? It was about his efforts to turn around a stodgy mainframe systems and also-ran PC vendor into a service provider. He and other IBM stewards have made tough decisions such as eliminating OS/2 (a powerful Windows competitor that ended in what Gerstner called a "resounding defeat") and selling off their entire PC line to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo. Lenovo has since added Motorola to their arsenal, while IBM is increasingly offering services as their raison d'etre.
Now, 30 years after the Mac was introduced as the alternative to Orwell's Big Brother (IBM and Microsoft) Apple is teaming up with IBM, and it involves iOS devices not Macs. The two giants issued a press release detailing their efforts to cross market products and services. The arrangement is entitled IBM MobileFirst and that seems like an Orwellian way of saying we're in the "Post PC" era!
IBM will sell Apple's iPhones and iPads to their enterprise customers, with special AppleCare service and support packages and custom IBM-developed iOS apps. This announcement comes at a time when Microsoft is undergoing major changes such as cutting licensing fees for low-end laptops, to combat $200 Google Chromebooks. Microsoft is also expected to make the largest layoff announcement in five years. A partnership with IBM, as in the good old days, would have been a shot in the arm for Microsoft and Windows. Instead, it's Apple's turn to team up with IBM.