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Strange Bedfellows and a Shakeup at Microsoft: This Week in Enterprise Mobility

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Every week we recap the news and views that propel the enterprise mobility market forward, giving you a digestible glimpse into what matters when it comes to our post-Web world.

Apple and IBM learn to play nice

A few decades ago Apple was making not-so-friendly ads about IBM, but this week the two computing powerhouses decided that, to make it in the mobile world, it was time to join forces. The new deal will allow the two companies to collaborate to build easy-to-use mobile apps for business and sell Apple’s iPhones and iPads to IBM’s corporate customers.

The deal underscores just how important the mobile shift is in the enterprise, with Apple and IBM each recognizing where their business lacks on this front. Time will tell how well these former enemies will cooperate, but we’ll give them a pat on the back for shining a spotlight on enterprise mobility.

Microsoft layoffs + mobile steps up on the agenda

This week Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that the company would layoff 14% of employees, Microsoft’s largest round of layoffs ever. Mobile workers are taking a hit, with up to 12,500 jobs cuts planned to strip down overlap with Nokia’s mobile phone business. Microsoft will also cease making phones powered by its nemesis Google’s Android OS.

This news comes on the heels of a lengthy memo that Nadella sent to employees last week outlining his new agenda for the company. Among the highlights, he announced that mobile would be a centerpiece of the company’s strategy. As an important step, Microsoft will work to break down the user experience divide between applications for work, school and personal use, announcing “Microsoft will light up digital work and life experiences in the most personal, intelligent, open and empowering ways.” Chalk another one up for consumerization in the enterprise.

Chase and Barclay’s get in the tablet game

The banking industry is tapping into mobile with Chase Bank rolling out tablet-powered Electronic Banking Kiosks (EBKs) and Barclay’s allowing cashiers to get out from behind the booth to serve customers with tablets. Moving in the same direction as the restaurant industry, banks could be the next traditional businesses to make mobile a priority, giving customers and employees alike a more seamless and efficient experience.

Starting in the UK, Barclay’s is using iPads to allow branch cashiers to roam the floor and assist customers with basic transactions. Meanwhile Chase is making moves in the US to replace ATMs with EBKs. Right now EBKs are just beginning to test the waters with capabilities like check cashing, giving correct change and dispensing cash in multiple denominations, but in the future more advanced features, like biometric identity scanning or syncing with mobile phone apps to allow remote transactions, could be in the cards.

Thread takes a swing at uniting the Internet of Things

Recognizing the need for a better way to connect wireless products in the home, seven industry leading companies have formed the non-profit Thread Group. The fledgling Internet of Things (IoT) has be hampered by the challenges of security, compatibility, reliability and power consumption, and Thread aims to solve these issues through mesh networking, which allows devices to connect directly with each other rather than connecting to a central hub like a wifi router. Much is at stake in finding a solution that will allow IoT to really take off, a reality that appears obvious to backers of Thread including Yale Security, Silicon Labs, Samsung Electronics, Google’s Nest Labs, Freescale Semiconductor, Big Ass Fans and ARM.

Appcelerator Gets an Upgrade

Last but not least, did you hear that our platform just got smarter, more connected and more flexible?

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