NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Prior to the IBM (IBM) announcement I told you Apple (AAPL - Get Report) was coming for Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report). The deal with IBM further solidifies that notion and the related extension of thought that Apple will crush Microsoft's enterprise business, particularly MS Office.
A few thoughts I haven't heard expressed in the aftermath of the Apple-IBM hookup ...
One -- you might recall the tweet Tim Cook sent Satya Nadella when Microsoft introduced Office for iPad in Apple's App Store.
If that wasn't a backhanded positive tweet I don't know what is. Welcome to the App Store, Satya, now we're going to whip your company's ass.
Two -- expect Apple to make further improvements to iWork. To its utility and availability. Last year Apple fired a shot Steve Ballmer ignored when it made iWork free to iPhone and iPad buyers. Tim Cook isn't finished. If you're out selling this new IBM/Apple partnership to corporations, don't you think you're going to point out that Pages and Keynote, for example, can perform just as well, if not better than Word and PowerPoint for a fraction of the cost and aggravation?
These people (both Apple/IBM sales reps and enterprise employees) aren't stupid. And this dynamic leads to a logical, if not obvious outcome ...
Three -- it's stunning that, given what Apple did to BlackBerry (BBRY), more people aren't connecting the dots between the aforementioned iWork announcement, Microsoft's desperate move to put Office in the App Store and the IBM situation. Take these seemingly unrelated occurrences and chalk them up as writing on the wall a la Apple's takedown of the artist formerly known as RIM.
Thanks to Steve Ballmer Microsoft has virtually ZERO mindshare in the consumer and enterprise marketplaces. Nobody's excited to use Microsoft software and services; they exist by default and the long, concrete-lifting root of history. That's a precarious situation to hang your hat on, but Satya Nadella has no choice. Ballmer left him a stinking mess. And there's no way he's going to be able to clean it up.
The only love Microsoft gets from consumers comes via Xbox. People know that name. A meaningful few love it. But we -- and they -- know it as Xbox. It's effectively disassociated from Microsoft. And it's been so poorly mismanaged from the standpoint of integrating it with everything Microsoft does that there's effectively no chance Xbox can aid the now-commenced downfall of Windows, Office and all that they entail.
Because -- remember this critical point ...
While the MSFT and RIM situations are certainly different in specifics, they're conceptually similar if not the same. These days consumer preference dictates enterprise decisions. If you're not powerfully out in front with the consumer, you're going to end up getting hurt in the enterprise. That's why it was smart for IBM to partner with Apple. Led by Apple, they'll bury Microsoft in the same grave BlackBerry cluelessly fell into.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
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