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AT&T Sells iPads Direct to Businesses, Boosts Apple’s Tablet Onslaught

iPad suit

Apple’s iPad is already seeing fervent adoption by business folks the world over. But AT&T is giving the 3G version of the tablet a big boost, announcing it’ll sell it direct to business users via its enterprise tariff schemes.

All three flavors of 3G iPad will be sold direct to enterprise customers “as part of an initiative to help companies increase productivity and flexibility,” AT&T says in its press release. From October 28th the iPad will be available with “attractive post-paid mobile broadband price plans.”

Those key words “productivity” and “flexibility” are dropped a few times during the release, but the real reasoning is far simpler. AT&T quotes Ted Schadler, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research: “We are getting many requests for help on iPad strategies for the enterprise.”

In other words, AT&T has woken up to how quickly businesses are grabbing Apple’s tablet–something we’ve known for a while. Now that Apple has enabled AT&T to sell iPads direct to consumers, selling them direct to business customers too is a natural next step. After all, the 3G data income from thousands of businesses will make a lovely revenue stream for AT&T.

With remarkably few competitors to Apple’s iPad on sale at the moment, and Apple rapidly extending the reach of its device, it’s beginning to look as if Google and Microsoft may be shut out of much of the market–unless they move very rapidly indeed.

To keep up with this news, and more like it, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter. KE