OPERATIONS

IBM and Apple: ‘It’s Complicated’ for Retail

BY Staff Writer

New York — Greg Buzek, president of IHL, which tracks mobile spending and forecasts for the retail and hospitality markets, offers analysis on the recently announced IBM-Apple partnership:

If IBM and Apple for retail were people on Facebook right now, the relationship status would say “It’s complicated."

There is no doubt that this is a deal that provides great synergies for both companies. Apple gets a dedicated top notch sales- and service-team as well as a future of truly enterprise hardened software for their devices. IBM gains a fresh revenue opportunities in many areas of their company in the tremendously growing enterprise mobile software and services space.

The part that’s complicated is in retail. Basically, there are three questions that are unanswered and add to the “It’s complicated” relationship status:

1. Does IBM’s background in transaction processing, loyalty, big data, cloud, etc. make it an ideal platform for an Apple payments platform based on iTunes? Certainly it could — no one processes more high speed retail transactions worldwide than IBM software and middleware. An iWatch or iPayment platform, particularly for grocery and discounters where the move for self-checkout is more towards consumers scanning and bagging with their phones, could be a big deal.

2. Does the remaining IBM retail group begin offering a mobile POS platform that is separate and competitive to the Toshiba Global Commerce platforms (formally IBM Retail Store Solutions) being offered today? Or is the iPad simply going to be an option for both or IBM Global Services play?

3. Will retailers really support three different platforms (traditional POS, Toshiba Mobile, Apple Mobile) at the store level for POS activities? It’s doubtful. IBM may have just cut off the legs of the Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions (TGCS) relationship in general merchandise retailers.

These are not reasons for IBM and Apple not to do the deal. It makes tremendous sense overall. But the agreement has certainly complicated the lives of those who make their livelihood in retail for IBM/TGCS and their customers.

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Rally replaces Market Basket walkout

BY Dan Berthiaume

Tewksbury, Mass. – Although no promise has been made to rehire ousted CEO Arthur T. Demoulas, a rally at the corporate headquarters of Demoulas Super Markets Inc. is replacing a previously planned employee walkout. Employees of Demoulas’ Market Basket chain had threatened to stage a walkout on July 18 in protest of Demoulas’ removal as CEO in June.

However, the group Save Market Basket, which initially planned the walkout, said in a Facebook post there will be a rally at Demoulas headquarters the morning of July 18. In an open letter to employees, new co-CEOs Felicia Thornton and Jim Gooch said they will bring employee concerns to the Demoulas board of directors but cannot make any decision to rehire Demoulas. The letter also said that any employee who leaves their job or refuses to work a scheduled shift will be fired, meaning some participants could potentially lose their jobs.

Arthur T. Demoulas had been waging a public battle with his cousin Arthur S. Demoulas, a stakeholder and director of the company, about finances when he was fired in June. He remains a company shareholder.

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DHGate.com hires new executive team

BY Dan Berthiaume

San Francisco – DHgate.com, an e-commerce marketplace focused on cross-border trade of Chinese goods, has hired several new executives. These include COO Noah Herschmann, who previously held management roles at Amazon, Groupon, Asia, Staples China and Tweeter.

In addition to Herschman, the newly tapped executive team includes Jimmy Lau, VP, international marketing of Alibaba and EBay Private Marketplace; Carolyn Scott, senior director, brand marketing, bringing experience from Texas Instruments (TI) and Starbucks; Tony Li, senior director, site marketing, formerly of Google, EA and YouTube; and Jenny Chen, head of search, hailing from CafePress.

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