Thirty years ago, 1984, the recently announced alliance between Apple and IBM would have been all but inconceivable. In that year, Apple released its now-iconic ad campaign, ‘1984,’ branding IBM as stiflingly conventional. The Wall Street Journal, described it as: “painting IBM as a big-brother-like figure protecting the status quo while Apple’s Macintosh provided a pathway to freedom.”
So, yeah, a partnership seemed impossible 30 years ago. But, not even a decade after the commercial, Apple and IBM entered into an alliance. Yes, they have tried this cooperation thing before. And no, it did not work out. Together they attempted to create a computer operating system to rival Microsoft Windows, which had lured much of the industry’s value away from both companies. This endeavor proved to be a waste of time and just three years after the companies agreed to work together, the partnership dissolved.
But, wait! There is more. Apple and IBM formed two other partnerships in the 1990s. One attempted to develop the technology to produce interactive CD-ROMs. It failed. The other, the AIM alliance, looked to build a platform to rival Intel’s personal computer. Although their competing PC failed, at least it had some positives. The PowerPC chip they produced during this partnership went on to run Apple’s Macs for several years. Well, until Apple decided it was time to change to new processors. And guess who built the new processors? Intel. Sorry IBM.
So will the fourth time be the charm? It just might. Today, there is a decided lack of competition between the two companies. The idea is that the final product will be something better than what each of the companies could have produced on its own. In this partnership, Apple and IBM have committed to producing more than 100 apps for specific business uses. So maybe, just maybe, this partnership can work