AT&T Pitches iPad To Business Customers

Wireless carrier is the first to position Apple's hot-selling tablet as an enterprise computing platform.
Telecom giant AT&T on Friday outlined a plan to introduce Apple's iPad, one of the hottest selling gadgets on the consumer market, to its corporate clients.

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"iPad is a great fit for our enterprise customers across a wide range of industries who are looking for ways to increase business productivity and offer greater flexibility," said Michael Antieri, AT&T's president for Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions, in a statement.

"This new offer further strengthens AT&T's commitment to provide businesses with the tools they need to accelerate mobility-led productivity," said Antieri.

AT&T's move marks the first time a vendor has positioned the iPad as a business tool. Analysts said the strategy is likely to pay dividends as companies look to offer their employees computing tools that mirror those they use in their personal lives.

"We are getting many requests for help on iPad strategies for the enterprise," said Forrester VP and principal analyst Ted Schadler. "iPads are a tremendously empowering technology that any employee can buy," said Schadler.

AT&T did not provide pricing details about the initiative, saying only that it would offer its enterprise customers Wi-Fi + 3G iPads through "attractive post-paid mobile broadband plans."

The iPad smashed industry records earlier this year when it sold 3 million units in its first 80 days on the market. Third quarter sales were in the range of 4.5 million units, and overall it's estimated that Apple has shipped about 8.5 million iPads to date worldwide.

The iPad's blockbuster sales rate is starting to eat into PC sales, partly at the expensive of Apple rival Microsoft. Research group NPD last week released a survey that found 13% of iPad buyers would have purchased a PC had the iPad not been available.

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