Corporations prefer iPad 10-to-1 over rivals

Corporations planning to buy tablets next quarter overwhelmingly favor Apple's iPad, a research firm says.

Of the 1,000 business IT buyers surveyed last month by ChangeWave Research who said they would purchase tablets for their firms in the coming quarter, 84% named the iPad as their intended selection. That's ten times more than the nearest competitor—a record for Apple.

"The percentage reporting they'll buy Apple iPads has jumped to the highest level of corporate iPad demand ever seen in a ChangeWave survey," the company said in a blog post.

Apple's share of future business purchases has never been lower than 77% in these surveys, which go back to November 2010.

Just over a fifth of all IT buyers—22%—confirmed that they would be purchasing tablets for employees in the April-June quarter, ChangeWave said.

While the preference for Apple among corporate buyers rose by seven percentage points from the 77% who tapped the iPad as their preferred device last November, all other tablet makers' numbers dropped since then.

Samsung, for example, was the choice of 8% of the buyers who said they would purchase tablets in the second quarter, down two points from November. Amazon's 6% was off a point. Asus, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Motorola and Research in Motion also lost one or two percentage points.

The key to the iPad's dominance, ChangeWave has said before, is its high satisfaction ranking. In a November 2011 survey, 74% of iPad owners said they were "very satisfied" with the device—25 points higher than users of other tablets.

Apple regularly touts the fact that most of the firms in the Fortune 500 have bought iPads—it did so again last January in a quarterly earnings call with Wall Street analysts—but it does not release business-only sales figures.

Starting Friday, companies for the first time will have two different Apple tablets to choose from: Last year's iPad 2, which now costs $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi device, and the new iPad, with its higher-resolution screen, which starts at $499.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology news for Computerworld.

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