iPhone, Apple

Major customer facing enterprises have latched upon facilitating business-customer interactions as their next billion dollar idea. Case in point, Facebook. Earlier this year, Apple decided to walk down a similar path and launched Apple Business Chat. It seems that the limited launch has been a success. The company is now expanding the feature to additional geographies and businesses.

The feature first launched in January, and had Discover, Hilton, Lowe’s and Wells Fargo as partners. With today’s announcement, Apple is bringing 30 new companies on-board.

The number include 15 companies from the US, and another 15 from UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, Italy, Australia and France. The new business chat partners include Burberry, West Elm, Kimpton Hotels, and Vodafone Germany.

We already know about Apple’s fascination with a closed, everything-is-here ecosystem. A few months ago, it added a payments tools to iMessage. Now, by offering other companies access to all these functionalities, it is making sure that they have a ready place to help their customers and collect payments. Ambitious plan, and one that might just succeed considering how ubiquitous Apple devices are in the west.

Another major feature that could make Apple’s Business Chat an attractive proposition for enterprises is it’s partnership with Salesforce. Announced last week, the partnership will allow businesses to leverage Salesforce’s proven expertise with automated and human response systems. By integrating Salesforce’s Service Bot platform with Apple Business Chat, enterprises could well provide their customers with a superior support experience at reduced prices.

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