IBM Pushes Deeper Into the Cloud, Announcing VMware Deal and Expanded Apple Relationship

As IBM (IBM) continues to push towards moving its software and services into the cloud, the company announced several key deals at its annual cloud conference, including one with cloud and virtualization company VMware (VMW) .

At IBM InterConnect in Las Vegas, the Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM announced a deal with VMware to allow millions of virtual machines, computers and servers which can be accessed anywhere, as well as 80% of the world's data centers, to run on IBM's Cloud. As part of the deal, terms of which were not disclosed, the two companies will now be able to offer more services for the hybrid cloud, which combines private clouds that companies run, as well as public ones where several companies are brought together. Hybrid clouds are an area where IBM has worked hard to gain traction in.

"This partnership, an extension of our 14-year plus relationship with IBM, demonstrates a shared vision that will help enterprise customers more quickly and easily embrace the hybrid cloud," said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger in a statement.

The deal will allow VMware and IBM to sell the ability for enterprise customers to migrate their work over to the cloud, as well as provide disaster recovery and the ability to expand and contract data centers.

"We are reaching a tipping point for cloud as the platform on which the vast majority of business will happen," said Robert LeBlanc, senior vice president, IBM Cloud.

IBM is trying to transition much of its business toward its strategic imperatives -- cloud, analytics, mobile, social and security -- but despite the growth in these segments, overall revenues have continued to decline for several years. In 2015, total cloud revenue rose 43% year over year to $10.2 billion, with cloud-as-a-service revenue up 50% year over year to $4.5 billion, excluding the affects of currencies.

In addition to the VMware announcement, IBM made several other key announcements, including expanding its relationship with Apple (AAPL) . (AAPL)

Apple's developer language, Swift, introduced in 2014 at Apple's developer conference, will now run on IBM's cloud, allowing developers to build apps for the enterprise in a much simpler way.

In 2014, IBM and Apple signed a deal to help bring more iPads and iPhones to the enterprise with a strategic partnership. Since then, the two companies have worked together towards building more than 100 apps for the enterprise, as well as using Apple's heath data in the Watson Cloud, among other partnerships.

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IBM also updated its application programming interface (API) for Watson, unveiling two new ones that allow Watson to analyze emotions and utilize visual recognition. The company also updated two older APIs, including the Text to Speech and Tone Analyzer APIs.

Additionally, IBM also announced Bitly, the link-shortening application, has selected IBM Cloud as its preferred cloud platform. The company also came to terms with GitHub, a software platform which lets developers share and collaborate on their code, to bring more apps to the enterprise, having GitHub Enterprise run on Bluemix, IBM's hybrid cloud platform.

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