It took a while, but Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad has finally made some headway with the corporate IT professionals who have final say about the computer equipment their companies buy.
According to an analysis by ChangeWave Research of the iPad’s office appeal, 22% of the businesses surveyed said they expect to buy computer tablets this quarter for corporate use. Eighty-four percent said that when they do, it will be an iPad. That’s a 7% increase in the iPad’s favor since ChangeWave polled the companies last November.
ChangeWave noted that these purchase plans are based on 12-plus months of interaction with the iPad and tablets from eight other manufacturers. Samsung’s (PINK:SSNLF) Galaxy Tab was the second most preferred tablet by corporate IT departments, but only 8% of the businesses said they plan to buy the device before the quarter ends. Just 6% of the businesses surveyed said Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle was their top choice.
ChangeWave noted that the new retina-screen-display iPad, which will be released on March 16, is not only preferred by businesses, it’s having another notable affect — lowering planned purchases of tablets made by other manufacturers. From November to February, for example, Samsung saw the number of businesses planning to buy its tablet drop 2 percentage points. The number of businesses planning to buy a Kindle or a tablet made by a manufacturer other than Apple declined by at least 1 percentage point.
Trying to slow the iPad pace
The findings may well irk Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and the PC makers counting on its tablet-friendly Windows 8 software to help them slow Apple’s incursion into corporate offices. Windows 8 isn’t due for release until the fall. By then, Apple may have walked away with most of the corporate budget allocations for computer upgrades and expansions, especially if more office workers make the iPhone their smartphone of choice.
Still, iPad’s exploits bode well for wireless carriers AT&T (NYSE:T) and Verizon (NYSE:VZ), which are posed to hitch a ride on the popularity of the device, whose wireless capabilities include compatibility with the high-speed LTE (long-term evolution) technology being adopted by the four major carriers in the U.S. According to ChangeWave, 30% of the businesses that plan to buy a tablet this quarter said they will use AT&T as their wireless service provider. Twenty-nine percent said they will use Verizon. Sprint (NYSE:S) is the corporations’ last choice, attracting just 4% of the companies surveyed.
Verizon has the most extensive 4G LTE network, which, the carrier says, serves about 200 million people. AT&T serves about 74 million on its 4G network, which is being upgraded to provide LTE service. Sprint isn’t expected to offer 4G LTE service until midyear and, at that point, it will be relatively limited.