If you had asked me 10 years ago whether something like this would ever happen, I’d have had a good laugh and then asked you to share whatever it was you had been drinking. But here we are, 2014, and strange bedfellows Apple and IBM have announced a “landmark” partnership in pursuit of enterprise business. And just like a Disney fairytale or the famously delicious chocolate-peanut butter confection, it turns out the mis-matched pair were made for each other after all.
Let me ‘splain:
You may have noticed that Apple, despite the proliferation of iOS devices throughout the business world, has, up until now, remained staunchly consumer focused. The primary plank in its branding was to demonstrate just how “not corporate” its devices were. Conversely, can anyone remember a time when IBM was ever viewed as anything but the epitome of big business? You can bet Apple is painfully aware of how much money it’s leaving on the table by not playing in the corporate and enterprise space, and IBM is just as painfully aware of how “not sexy” its current service offerings are. If you’ve ever used enterprise software (SAP, Oracle, Peoplesoft, etc.) then you know just how awful the experience is. Now imagine Apple lending its design sensibilities to a UI that interfaces with IBM’s monstrously powerful back office software – and oh, by the way, you can use it on this shiny iPad? Move over Brangelina, here comes the new “power couple” of the decade!
The controversial CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) proposal has passed committee review and is heading to the Senate for a vote, despite a clear warning from the Obama administration that it would VETO the proposed law. Unlike the equally controversial SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) backed by media companies and defeated through vigorous and coordinated protests from the technology industry, CISPA has divided the technology industry. Many large companies like IBM, AT&T, Oracle and Verizon backing it, while other, equally sizeable companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google and dozens of activist organizations oppose the bill on the grounds that it doesn’t do enough to protect the privacy of US citizens.
What this means for you:
In case you are confused as to how CISPA might impact you or your business personally, here’s a summation of what the bill proposes: This law would allow telecommunication companies to share data with governmental agencies for the purposes of combatting terrorist or criminal activity, overriding any local laws that would prohibit such sharing. According to supporters, law-abiding citizens should have nothing to worry about, but opponents contend that on top of very weak protections for citizen privacy, there is nothing in the bill that would protect citizens from potential abuse by the various intelligence agencies who could amass an inconceivably comprehensive database from the information gained by CISPA. Regardless of which side of the privacy fight you stand on, it behooves you as a US citizen to be aware of where you stand on this issue, as well as encouraging everyone around you to participate as they can in helping our government come to terms with this problem.
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net