| TORONTO, July 25
TORONTO, July 25 IBM Corp's recent move
to partner with Apple Inc to sell iPhones and iPads
loaded with corporate applications has excited investors in both
companies, but two rivals say they are unperturbed for now.
Top executives at Dell and BlackBerry Ltd scoffed at
the threat posed by the alliance this week, arguing the tie-up
is unlikely to derail the efforts of their own companies to
"I do not think that we take the Apple-IBM tie-up terribly
seriously. I think it just made a good press release," John
Swainson, who heads Dell's global software business, said in an
interview with Reuters in Toronto on Thursday.
PC maker Dell and smartphone maker BlackBerry are in the
midst of reshaping their companies around software and services,
as the needs of their big corporate clients morph.
Swainson, who spent over two decades in senior roles at IBM,
said, "I have some trouble understanding how IBM reps are going
to really help Apple very much in terms of introducing devices
into their accounts. I mean candidly, they weren't very good at
doing it when it was IBM-logoed products, so I do not get how
introducing Apple-logoed stuff is going to be much better."
While conceding that Apple products hold more allure,
Swainson said they lack the depth of security features that many
large business clients like banks covet.
IBM and Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.
BlackBerry Chief Executive John Chen similarly downplayed
the threat of the alliance in an interview with the Financial
Times on Thursday, likening the tie-up to when "two elephants
NO COMMENT ON POSSIBLE ALLIANCE
Dell and BlackBerry declined to discuss whether they would
consider teaming up, but some analysts, bankers and others have
argued in the past that a partnership between the two underdogs
potentially made sense.
Texas-based Dell has a huge sales team, vast network of
business clients and is focused on growing its security and
device management capabilities, long strong suits for
The Canadian company is building on its heritage by adding
capabilities to manage not just BlackBerry, but iOS-, Android-
and Windows-based devices on its infrastructure.
"Dell's always been in a partnership-driven model. As Dell
has evolved it has focused on some pieces of the equation, but
not all," said Swainson, adding that the need to broaden
partnerships is growing, but declining comment on a potential
tie-up with BlackBerry.
Chen told the Financial Times that BlackBerry was in early
discussions with some companies about working together in parts
of the enterprise market, but did not name them.
Whether a BlackBerry-Dell partnership will materialize is
unclear for now.
Initial speculation about a tie-up between the two began a
year ago, when both players were exploring buyouts. At the time,
one source told Reuters that BlackBerry had held talks with
private equity firm Silver Lake Partners about collaboration in
Silver Lake, along with Dell's founder, Michael Dell, were
at the time in the midst of taking Dell private.
At the time, the source said if the buyout succeeded, one
option was a collaboration with BlackBerry in mobile computing.
Both Swainson and Chen were senior advisors with Silver Lake
before moving into their roles with Dell and BlackBerry.
BlackBerry, under the leadership of Chen, has been busy
forging alliances and earlier this week announced it was going
to allow third-parties to host its device management services.
(Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Paul Simao)