Apple's Deal With the Devil
Jobs would have jumped on a partnership with the devil himself if it benefited Apple.
Jobs famously did a deal with Microsoft, who he despised. He even put a happy public face on about it.
He agreed to have Apple products sold in WalMart stores. He did the exclusive deal with AT&T for the iPhone, and according to the Verizon guy, never even offered it to them. He made a deal with Google to provide several of the apps for the iPhone. If there was a company he hated worse than Microsoft or IBM, it was Google.
Apple gets those 100,000 consultants, plus they get a guarantee that IBM is going to push iOS first and foremost. On top of that, they are building a bunch of iOS exclusive vertical apps which their customers will have to buy iOS devices to use (or if they already owns them simply brings them tighter into Apple's fold).
This is, if I may say it, being underestimated. It isn't about the 10,000 sales reps, although that's good. It's about the corporate IT guys having a "trusted partner" in the mobile world. Microsoft has been a no show (or at the very least, a late and bad show), while Android is an all-over-the-place show.
Apple's sales into the enterprise have been largely from the bottom up (even if it was the CEO demanding to have an iPhone), individuals asserting themselves into the IT realm. This will change everything and make Apple the tablet (phone) of choice for IT managers. (Yes, it has already been "the tablet of choice", this just makes it official, which is very different in that world.)
None of this is epic OMG best deal Ever! type stuff
Ever? Maybe not. It's right up there. IBM will be outfitting those reps with iPhones and iPads. Their customers will be asking for specific solutions, so they will be designing apps for their individual customers in the enterprise which, for security reasons, will probably not be ported to other platforms. Those applications will work in virtually every possible sector, from medical to retail, from aviation to logistics.
It used to frost me to see Microsoft Windows on computers displaying X-rays and MRI's at my doctors' and veterinarian's offices, at the kiosk in the mall selling sunglasses, on the production floor at Boeing, at the customs gate to Canada. But then I am cognizant of how things tend to standardize in the computer world, and Apple is now poised to become "the" standard.
Android will have the low end, Samsung will still make money (even with challenges from new OS's from China and India), Google will still make money selling ads via search (and it's various permutations), and Apple will make a boatload selling hardware to businesses across the world.
Is this as big as the iPhone itself? Maybe not, but the long view is that it might just be bigger.