AT&T Targeting Enterprise Market With Apple iPad

A day after announcing that it will offer Apple's iPad in retail stores later this month, AT&T is now outlining the next stage of its strategy for promoting the popular device, saying that it plans to sell the tablet directly to its enterprise customers.

On Friday, the carrier announced that it will promote all three iPad models that include both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity to its business customers, billing the strategy as a natural extension of the increasing use of consumer-oriented technology behind the corporate firewall.

"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," Michael Antieri, president of the recently formed Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions group, a division of AT&T (NYSE: T) Business Solutions, said in a statement.

Broadly, the approach continues a trend that industry observers have referred to as the consumerization of IT. Workers, growing smitten by the features and capabilities offered by the notebooks, smartphones and other gear they use at home, increasingly come to rely on those devices for business uses, the argument goes.

AT&T is also banking on the heightened demand from enterprise customers for media-capable mobile devices, a market condition that has firms across the industry racing to bring new tablet computers to market.

The news comes just a day after AT&T rival Verizon Wireless announced that it will begin selling the iPad at its own retail stores Oct. 28, the same day the devices will show up in AT&T stores. Those announcements figure to broaden Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) retail distribution channels ahead of the holiday season, the first for the popular new tablet.

But Verizon, unlike AT&T, still does not have a carrier partnership with Apple. As a result, the leading wireless carrier is offering the iPad as a package sale with its MiFi portable hotspot device. AT&T, by contrast, offers the iPad with a data plan for its 3G network, as well as access to its Wi-Fi hotspots.

AT&T will offer the iPad to business customers with a corporate service subscription at a discounted rate, but did not disclose pricing details.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPad, Apple, tablet, AT&T, enterprise mobility