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Can there be a Strategic Alliance between Apple and IBM?

Consistent high productivity levels over longer time periods are unable to be sustained
often by businesses, especially without access to knowledge across borders. To build new
innovations, external knowledge is required by them. Within the business environment,
increasing creation of strategic alliances can be perceived as a response to increasing
complexity and uncertainty and globalization. To collaborate on a continuous project or a
particular business activity, an agreement formed between two or more companies is referred
to as strategic alliance. To acquire competitive advantage, reduction of huge costs and risks,
knowledge sharing and huge access to target markets is the key objective behind a strategic
alliance for both companies.

In creating a successful strategic alliance, one of the main factors is selection of
partner. Apple can gain significant help from IBM in accomplishing its strategic goals
through sharing the risks and costs of new product development, acquiring access to key core
competencies of IBM and huge enterprise market access. On the other hand, high rate of
failure of strategic alliances can be found; therefore, the alliance must be formed in such a
manner so that there is minimum threat of opportunism. To protect the core competencies of
the organization, contractual safeguards must be written within the alliance agreement. To
bring together complementary assets and skills, agreement was formed between IBM and
Apple, as both of the company lack the talent of developing these factors on their own. For
both of the companies, the threat of opportunism will be reduced through this alliance.
Identifying opportunities ahead of the competition is of the additional methods of
managing a strategic alliance successfully. It was pointed by critics that significance of
strategic alliance with Microsoft was not identified by Apple. Consequently, Windows would
not have been that much successful if operating system of MAC OS of Microsoft would have

been licensed by Apple early. This proves that a great competitive advantage can be offered
by strategic alliances especially if they are managed correctly and at the right time.


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