Tech bigwigs in love with Apple's iPad, push business case

Summary:It's almost comical how these technology bigwigs can turn into your every day gadget freak when talking about Apple's iPad.

Talk to any technology head honcho and you'll likely have them fawning over the Apple iPad somehow.

It's almost comical how these executives  -- schooled in the art of war and talking strategy -- can turn into your every day gadget freak when talking about the iPad.

To wit:

Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T's wireless unit, said "I'm addicted to it" when talking about the iPad. "It's really changed the way that I work. But where I primarily use it is either at home or at the office or somewhere in between. And actually in between now, I'm using more Wi-Fi than I ever have," said de la Vega, speaking at the JP Morgan technology conference.

He added:

I'm flying all around the country. And on a recent trip I took it with me and was able to hook on the airplane with Wi-Fi. I actually did something that I've never done in a long, long time, which is work my inbox to zero on an airplane. But I did it because the iPad made it so easy and I had Wi-Fi connectivity.

Let's ponder this: Here's the head of AT&T's wireless unit talking about the iPad and how he just doesn't use a lot of 3G. Sure, 3G "liberates you" on the iPad, but de la Vega seems to be all about the Wi-Fi on the iPad.

And then there's SAP chairman Hasso Plattner. I, along with Dennis Howlett, Oliver Marks, Michael Krigsman and other Enterprise Irregulars, caught up with Plattner on Tuesday. If you want to get Plattner talking just mention guitars. Plattner is a guitar aficionado. But Apple's iPad may be a close second. SAP had a bunch of business intelligence demos on the iPad. Plattner walked us through a few big topics like in-memory databases and what went wrong with Business ByDesign, but he was like a little kid when he had his iPad. Plattner was flicking around graphics, but the thing he thought was really wonderful was Apple's decision to ditch bars like File, Edit and View and other things he never uses them. Plattner said he admired Apple CEO Steve Jobs for eliminating the things that don't matter. When asked why Microsoft hasn't eliminated a few things, Plattner quipped "it's a different company."

Given that Plattner is the spiritual leader of SAP it's not surprising that co-CEO Jim Hagermann Snabe was also on the iPad bandwagon. To make his points about mobility and software as a service, Snabe broke out the iPad. You just can't beat the eye candy.

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff is another tech CEO that just can't stop talking about the iPad. At Salesforce.com's VMforce powwow a few weeks ago many slides focused on the iPad as the future of computing.

If I were completely cynical, I'd say that all of these enterprise technology types were just trying to look fashionable. However, when you see these execs talk about the iPad there's some serious gadget lust here.

These bigwigs may be the biggest evangelists for the iPad in the workplace.

Related:

Apple iPad: Is there an ROI for business? [podcast]

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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