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More companies say they¿re planning to buy iPhone 3G

Interest in the iPhone 3G continues to rise among corporate customers, which should bode well for Apple's prospects for selling more Macs to businesses.

The latest survey of IT purchasing plans from Rockville,Md.-based ChangeWave Research shows Apple gaining ground at the expense of both Research in Motion (BlackBerry) and the ever-sinking Palm.

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When asked which smart phone they expected to buy in the next quarter, 17 percent of the companies said they'd purchase iPhones, up from 14 percent in May. The most recent survey, conducted Aug. 11-21, queried 1,947 respondents.

The BlackBerry, while remaining far ahead of the iPhone with 79 percent, fell three percentage points from the May survey. Palm slipped from 8 percent to 6 percent.

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ChangeWave's Paul Carton noted in his report that RIM's new BlackBerry model, the Bold, is not yet available in the United States. Customer anticipation of new RIM models could have influenced the results, though that won't be clear until the next survey (probably in November).

Nevertheless, Carton views the August results as positive news for Apple.

"While recent ChangeWave consumer surveys have shown the 3G iPhone having a huge impact on consumer demand, the current results show the iPhone is beginning to gain real traction in the corporate market as well," Carton said.

In a related question, 19 percent if the respondents said the iPhone 3G made their company "more likely" to buy Apple products in the future, with only 1 percent saying "less likely."

"Thus the 3G iPhone release appears to be having a positive 'halo' effect in terms of improved overall corporate purchasing intentions for Apple products in general," Carton said.

Just the other day I wrote about how Apple's overtures to businesses with the iPhone 3G could be contributing to an upsurge in Mac sales in the enterprise. The ChangeWave survey provides some real-world evidence that this indeed is happening.

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