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FileMaker: Old Apple Subsidiary, New Partner App Opportunities?

Apple isn’t known as a channel-friendly company. But one Apple’s classic subsidiaries could give channel partners a new doorway into the small business apps market.

Indeed, FileMaker — yes, that Apple subsidiary — has launched Service Business Toolkit and Idea to iPad Bundle. Both offerings “help small businesses plan, create and deploy a custom app that will enable them to maximize customer satisfaction, drive growth and increase profitability,” the company says.

FileMaker and its relational database are well-known within Apple business circles. The technology dates back to Claris, a software company spun off from Apple in 1987. In 1998, Claris reformed as FileMaker Inc. amid Steve Jobs’ desperate bid to rebuild Apple.

FileMaker’s SMB App Tools

Fast forward to present day and FileMaker wants to empower small businesses and IT service providers with app development tools. The new Service Business Toolkit is free, and the Idea to iPad Bundle is available for sale at Apple Stores and directly from FileMaker.

The free Service Business Toolkit offers an ebook that walks SMBs through the process of creating a custom app. And a Service Business Starter App, provided by Richard Carlton Consulting, is designed to work with the FileMaker 15 Platform across iPad, iPhone, Windows and Mac.

Meanwhile, the Idea to iPad Bundle offers:

  • An annual license of FileMaker Pro Advanced software to create custom apps;
  • an annual license of FileMaker Server to deploy custom apps; and
  • 10 hours of consultation with a FileMaker Business Alliance professional developer.

FileMaker Channel Partner Program

FileMaker has a longstanding channel partner program, which includes roughly 1,200 IT consulting firms and service providers — though that’s down from 1,400 partners a few years ago.

True believers include Productive Computing Inc., which offers dedicated hosting and managed services plans for FileMaker 15 running atop Amazon Web Services.

Channel companies have also adopted FileMaker within their own businesses. Ingram Micro, for one, used FileMaker as part of a Salesforce.com project that saved the distributor $1.2 million.

We’re curious to see if the new FileMaker tools empower a new generation of mobile and cloud app partners.

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