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Apple and IBM partner for business software

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — IBM and Apple have entered into a comprehensive partnership to spread advanced mobile and data analysis technology in the corporate world. The deal brings together two historic competitors.

(See related content: What it means for retailers)

The two companies are jointly working on, and will release, more than 100 mobile applications tailored to work with IBM’s data analytics and cloud services developed exclusively for Apple’s iOS operating system and for use on iPhones and iPads.

The applications will be tailored for use in industries including retail, health care, transportation, banking, insurance and telecommunications. The two companies will also join together to sell iPads and iPhones to business users.

“iPhone and iPad are the best mobile devices in the world and have transformed the way people work with over 98% of the Fortune 500 and over 92% of the Global 500 using iOS devices in their business today,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “For the first time ever we’re putting IBM’s renowned big data analytics at iOS users’ fingertips, which opens up a large market opportunity for Apple. This is a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver.”

Neither Apple nor IBM would disclose financial terms of the deal.

“We wanted to focus on creating an absolutely irresistible workflow and processes and a design of apps that can be used by every user in the organization,” Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior VP of global business services told Reuters from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Specifically, the two companies stated they are working together to deliver the essential elements of enterprise mobile solutions, including:

• The companies will collaborate to build IBM MobileFirst for iOS Solutions — a new class of “made-for-business apps” targeting specific industry issues or opportunities in retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance, among others, that will become available starting this fall and into 2015.

• The IBM MobileFirst Platform for iOS will deliver the services required for an end-to-end enterprise capability, from analytics, workflow and cloud storage, to fleet-scale device management, security and integration. Enhanced mobile management includes a private app catalog, data and transaction security services, and productivity suite for all IBM MobileFirst for iOS solutions. In addition to on-premise software solutions, all these services will be available on Bluemix — IBM’s development platform on the IBM Cloud Marketplace.

• AppleCare for Enterprise will provide IT departments and end users with 24/7 assistance from Apple’s award-winning customer support group, with on-site service delivered by IBM.

• IBM is introducing IBM MobileFirst Supply and Management for device supply, activation and management services for iPhone and iPad, with leasing options.


See related content: What it means for retailers

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J.C. Penney showcases unique mannequins in New York City store windows

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — J.C. Penney has teamed up with NBC’s “Today Show” to display five mannequins created in the image of real Americans in the windows of its store in Manhattan. The mannequins, which include a model of woman in a wheelchair and a male double-leg amputee, were made by Fusion Specialties, Broomfield, Colorado.

“We are committed to fitting our customers just as they are – all shapes, sizes and styles,” said Penney in a post on its Facebook page. “That’s why we’re proud to have teamed up with the ‘Today’ to display these ‘Perfect The Way They Are’ mannequins.”

The Today Show commissioned the mannequins as part of its “LoveYourSelfie” campaign, designed to encourage greater acceptance of all kinds of bodies. In its windows, Penney provides information on the person who inspired each mannequin: Dawna Callahan, who uses a wheelchair due to incomplete paralysis; Neil Duncan, a former Army paratrooper who lost parts of both of his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan; Ricardo Gil, who has dwarfism; Desiree Hunter, a 6-ft.-1½-inch college basketball player; and Beth Ridgeway, who is plus-size.

The mannequins are on display in Penney’s Manhattan Mall store through the end of August.

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Savings.com launches Amazon price comparison tool

BY Dan Berthiaume

Santa Monica, Calif. – Savings website Savings.com has launched PriceJUmp, an online tool that instantly compares Amazon product prices to prices around the Web. Users copy the URL of the product page they are viewing on Amazon and paste it into the PriceJump website search box.

PriceJump then searches thousands of sites to find better prices. In addition, the Savings.com PriceJump browser extension for Chrome (Firefox and Safari extensions are expected soon) provides the same PriceJump pricing information in the upper right hand corner of the user’s browser window while shopping on Amazon. When the user is not on Amazon, they won’t see any price information.

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