Verizon is selling the iPad. No kidding, it’s not a rumor. Go to Verizon’s web site and you can see the offer:

iPad at Verizon

See the prices? They’re exactly the same prices you pay to get a phone-enabled iPad from AT&T. But Verizon’s iPad isn’t a phone. It comes instead with a MiFi Mobile HotSpot device, meaning that you can have Internet on your iPad anywhere. Which make a lot more sense than having your iPad be a phone. And if you’re technically adept you can make it be a phone by playing with the Internet connection that the MiFi device gives you.

This is a brilliant business change on Verizon’s part. BRILLIANT.

First, let’s play the rumor game: making an official deal with Apple means that the two companies are working together at long last. And that means that the “iPhone at Verizon in January 2011” rumors are almost certainly true. And that’s good for everyone except AT&T.

And while they can’t be making very much money selling the iPads, Verizon being able to do so is a win for them just based on having their customers think of them as their one-stop shop for all things that requires bandwidth. And yes, they’ll sell you just the iPad, at the same price you can get it anywhere else.

The beauty of this business-changing move is that Verizon is putting that MiFi HotSpot in your hands. They’re selling it at a price that’s a significant discount from their retail price, AND IT REQUIRES NO CONTRACT. Yes, that’s right; you can get a MiFi from Verizon at a discounted price and you can stop using it any time.

Except, of course, you won’t. Why would you buy the thing just to stop using it?

Here’s why this is such a game-changer, such a business change, and matters to you:

There’s no unlimited data plan. Verizon will sell you one gigabyte of throughput each month for $20, or 5GB for $50. And while the overage charges are priced fairly, they’re still overage charges, and to date most Verizon customers have bought their data on an all-you-can-eat basis.

So Verizon gets cozy with Apple, sells the hottest device around (and at a price where they will in fact sell plenty), and gets a bunch of customers to buy data on a metered plan. Slam dunk.

I still think the iPad is evil, but I love Verizon’s implementation of an iPad sales strategy.

Are you doing smart business change like Verizon’s? C’mon . . . if they can do it, you can do it even better . . .

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