Free iPad minis for employees -- more than just a Silicon Valley perk

Credit: lindblom via Flickr

This afternoon, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner made a surprise announcement at a company meeting that every one of its 3,500 employees would be getting a free iPad mini.

The news, first reported by TechCrunch, was confirmed a by LinkedIn spokesperson to CITEworld, and follows similar moves by YouSendIt and Box last year. 

Perks are vital for attracting and retaining talented engineers in the red-hot job market of the Silicon Valley tech world. That's why Yahoo (and many other companies) have followed Google's lead of providing high-quality free cafeteria food and shuttles to work.

But the iPads aren't just perks -- otherwise, why not just buy employees an Xbox? They also help employees understand how users are interacting with their services in the post-PC world. 

Box's VP of People, Evan Wittenberg, told CITEworld, "iPads and post-PC devices in general have been a huge driver of our growth and are a good use case for Box....Getting iPad minis in every employee's hands has been a good way to increase productivity, but also to dogfood our product, to use our OneCloud product in conjunction with Box. 

Wittenberg also said that since the company handed the devices out to more than 600 employees last month, a lot more employees are using the device at meetings instead of their main laptop. 

"Minis are a lot more more portable and useful – grabbing them off desk a lot easier." Wittenberg also said that everybody uses them on the new shuttle that Box started running from SF to its headquarters in Los Altos Hills, near Palo Alto. 

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