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Apple's Tim Cook (l) and SAP's Bill McDermott see mutual benefits of their tie-up (Photo: Apple)

Apple announced a partnership with SAP aimed at giving the California-based technology group a stronger position in the business market.

Apple and SAP, the world’s biggest business software maker, announced this week that they will jointly develop native apps for the iPhone and iPad that will give users access to the SAP Hana cloud platform.

The two also will make available a software development kit (SDK) that lets developers build apps that run SAP software.

For Apple, the tie-up marks another move into the business market. Though many people have long used iPhones and iPads for business purposes, these have not replaced the PC and laptop as the end-user device of choice within companies.

In 2014, Apple unveiled an agreement with IBM to develop business apps for the iPhone and iPad that bring IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities to the devices.

And last year, Apple and Cisco announced a partnership to integrate the iPhone into Cisco business environments.

Underscoring the importance of SAP software, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted in a press statement that 76 pc of all business transactions tie into an SAP system. The new partnership between the two companies will bring together “the innovation and security of iOS with SAP’s deep expertise in business software,” he said

Cook added that the new SDK will connect 2.5 million SAP developers with Apple’s iOS operating system.

SAP has been criticized for not moving as fast into the mobile space as some competitors, notably Salesforce, but SAP CEO Bill McDermott said the cooperation will give business users “an agile and intuitive business experience.” And he added that the security of iOS will allow the delivery of “live data to people wherever and whenever they choose to work.”