Apple partners SAP to develop mobile business apps that run on its HANA database software

Apple is taking another step into the corporate computing world by partnering with SAP to develop apps that run the German company's widely used business software on smartphones and tablets, the two companies said on Thursday.

Apple, which historically has remained aloof from the unglamorous market for enterprise software, has in the past two years set partnerships with IBM, Cisco and now SAP that enable its products to reach a growing audience of business professionals.

SAP, whose business software runs inside 87 per cent of the world's 2,000 biggest companies, said it would work with Apple to develop mobile business apps for iPhones and iPads that run on its HANA database software.

HANA software represents SAP's biggest new platform in two decades.

SAP is seeking to entice its vast base of multinational corporate customers to convert their classic packaged software for managing financial planning, human resources, manufacturing and external supply chains by moving to cloud-based software run over the Internet and its HANA database.

A 2014 study by VMware showed that Apple's reputation as anything but a business computer supplier is out of date. It found that two-thirds of corporate enterprises now allow employees to use Apple computers as well as traditional Microsoft Windows products.

In September last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook boasted that Apple's enterprise business had generated $25 billion, or roughly 14 per cent of the company's revenue, in the past year.

The vast majority of its revenue continues to come from computers, phones and related services aimed at consumers.

Apple runs its supply chain for managing its global manufacturing and logistics operations on SAP software, according to market research firm Gartner.

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