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Microsoft executives say workers use competitors products to learn about the competition

The rivalry between Microsoft and Apple is one of legend. The two firms battle in many major categories including computers, mobile phones, and music players. The rivalry between the two firms has grown to epic proportions and in some instances; employees at Microsoft have been discouraged from using competitor's offerings.

In June of 2009, Microsoft changed its corporate policy to stipulate that it would only cover employees cell phone bills as long as the employee used a Microsoft-powered device. That means that the employees using the iPhone or a Blackberry were no longer being reimbursed for their calls. Microsoft said the reason for the move was to save money.

The Wall Street Journal reports that despite the fact that Microsoft workers using iPhones is frowned upon, many of them still use the Apple smartphone. The use of the iPhone is reportedly not hidden or uncommon at Microsoft's Seattle campus. Workers use the device openly in cafeterias and other locations reports the WSJ. According to reports, nearly 10,000 Microsoft workers are accessing the Microsoft employee email system using the iPhone. That number represents 10% of the firm's global workforce.

Microsoft executives have tried to spin employee use of the iPhone and other competitor's offerings. Microsoft's Andy Lees and Robbie Bach stated at a question and answer even that Microsoft workers often used a competitor's product to understand the competition. Microsoft COO Kevin turner also denied that he discouraged sales staff from using the iPhone. Turner stated, "What's good for the field is good for Redmond," according to one Q&A attendee.

There seems to be some that are uncomfortable using competitor's products at Microsoft. The WSJ reports that one person told the publication that some workers try to disguise their iPhone with generic cases. Some workers are also hesitant to use non-Microsoft devices in front of executives.

Despite the healthy rivalry, there are reports that Apple and Microsoft are teaming up against a common foe. Such is the case with the two firms reportedly in talks to see Bing search replace Google search on the iPhone. 

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Mostly off topic but...
By kobymu on 3/15/2010 11:30:55 AM , Rating: 5
I wish the EU will force apple to incorporate a ballot box like in windows so mac user could choose any browser their little heart desire.

I think its only fair.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By weskurtz0081 on 3/15/2010 11:44:44 AM , Rating: 2
They probably asked Steve about that, and he told them he would sue them, so they decided not to.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By Pirks on 3/15/2010 1:32:56 PM , Rating: 2
No, he probably told them to piss off 'cause WebKit is open source.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By Spivonious on 3/15/2010 3:13:52 PM , Rating: 2
What does the open-sourceness have to do with anything? Apple is still forcing Safari upon its poor unsuspecting users.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By Pirks on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Mostly off topic but...
By crystal clear on 3/15/2010 12:34:35 PM , Rating: 3
Sorry E.U. is busy with Google now-Google is much more money in fines.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By sigilscience on 3/15/2010 1:15:54 PM , Rating: 2
Between Intel, Microsoft, Google, and Apple, the EU should be able to rake in at least $15-$20 billion in fines. A very nice haul. The old time pirate captains would be proud.

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By crystal clear on 3/15/2010 1:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Beats even those modern time Somali pirates !

RE: Mostly off topic but...
By fcx56 on 3/15/2010 6:14:58 PM , Rating: 2
The EU should start selling "protection" insurance. Protection from what? Nothing specifically but sometimes bad things happen in anti-trust courtrooms.

I'm sorry, what?
By daveinternets on 3/15/2010 11:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
"The Wall Street Journal reports that despite the fact that Microsoft workers using iPhones is frowned upon, many of them still use the Apple smartphone."

So... 10% is 'many'?

RE: I'm sorry, what?
By wolrah on 3/15/2010 1:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
So... 10% is 'many'?

When that 10% is approximately 10,000 users who are not only choosing to use a device not powered by their own employer's operating system but also thus choosing to not be reimbursed for phone costs, I'd say it quite easily qualifies as "many". Many does not have to be a large percentage, just a lot of people, and 10,000 is a lot last time I checked. Of course if it isn't to you, can I borrow $10,000?

RE: I'm sorry, what?
By weskurtz0081 on 3/15/2010 1:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
I am confused, where is the relationship between $10,000 and 10%. 10,000 people being a lot of people is relative. If you are comparing it to a U of H basketball game, well that's a lot of people. If you are comparing it to a UT football game, that's not many people. So, just saying 10,000 is a lot is incorrect, it really depends on what you are comparing it to.

Is anyone really surprised by this?
By Skott on 3/15/2010 1:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not surprised really. Say what you want about Apple but their iPhone is extremely popular. I'm kinda surprised its not more than 10%. On the flip side I imagine quite a few Apple employees use a PC with MS Windows at home.

By hiscross on 3/15/2010 2:14:58 PM , Rating: 1
"On the flip side I imagine quite a few Apple employees use a PC with MS Windows at home."


By inighthawki on 3/15/2010 1:35:18 PM , Rating: 2
I don't really understand the issue here. I'm a fairly anti-apple person but when it comes to choice, I don't see what the problem is with people choosing what phone they want. Just because you work at a company, you are expected to use only their products? That's outrageous... While Apple and Microsoft are fairly large competitors, that does not, by any means, mean that the rival company's product doesn't satisfy one of your own workers.

Better question?
By xsilver on 3/15/2010 6:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
How many iphone users are using windows pcs? 90%?

how many apple employees are using windows pcs? more than 10?

"Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: "Learn" from competition?
By noirsoft on 3/15/2010 10:56:05 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah, the Win7 taskbar, which is an extension of the taskbar first introduced in Win95. The only thing it possibly took from OSX is the combination of launching & switching. Oh, and they made it work peoperly, unlike the mess that is the OSX dock.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By bearxor on 3/15/2010 2:02:17 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry, can you specify the 'Mess that is the OS X dock'? I don't really think either taskbar/dock is significantly better or worse than the other, but I've never heard of the OS X dock referred to as 'a mess'. I'm just curious.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: "Learn" from competition?
By nikon133 on 3/15/2010 5:05:08 PM , Rating: 3
True. We already gave up on you, Pirks.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/15/2010 6:24:45 PM , Rating: 1
Wintrolls never give up, just look at master08 as an example :P He's barking at Apple while being penetrated by Ballmer at the same time, talk about never give up LOL :)))

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By themaster08 on 3/15/2010 8:38:42 PM , Rating: 1
I'm sure Jobs would prefer it if you bought his products instead of licking his asshole.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/16/2010 10:47:08 AM , Rating: 1
Ballmer would prefer you buying a few WinMo gadgets instead of munching on his dick, not much difference between us eh? :))

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By hiscross on 3/15/2010 5:56:50 PM , Rating: 2
NOPE. Win 95 Task Bar came for NeXTSTEP/OPENSTEP and some would say CDE - Unix.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By inighthawki on 3/15/2010 9:35:09 PM , Rating: 2
He didn't say it didn't he just said that the win7 taskbar was an extension of the taskbar that was in win95.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By weskurtz0081 on 3/15/2010 11:20:32 AM , Rating: 3
These two companies have been "learning" from each other year after year, only a homer would say otherwise.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By PitbulI on 3/15/2010 2:42:04 PM , Rating: 2
Having used both Windows 7 and Snow Leopard, The Windows 7 bar is much more advanced. I love how it works.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: "Learn" from competition?
By phenimation on 3/16/2010 2:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
Do you know what a computer is for? It is for getting stuff done. That is its main purpose and has been its main purpose for a long time. OSX's lovely 3D icons do nothing but slow performance, which is already pretty slow on an iMac. How is a glass effect "handy". You can't even look at your own reflection, for those who are a bit more vain. Form follows function.

BTW Please do not use the "you don't buy a car for its HP rating" argument as it is totally irrelevant.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By phenimation on 3/16/2010 2:55:13 AM , Rating: 2
Edit: Sorry about the looking glass thing. I was skimming and assumed you meant glass reflections. And i might point out Windows 7 has a magnifier as well.

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By KoolAidMan1 on 3/16/2010 6:34:56 AM , Rating: 2
While I don't question that the 3D dock is for eyecandy (and there's nothing wrong with a UI looking nice BTW, I'll take Win7 over XP any day), the notion that it slows down the computer is ridiculous. The OS X UI is perfectly smooth on a bottom end Mac Mini that I wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole, let alone an iMac with a Core 2 or i7 CPU.

Make your argument that that fancy stuff is superficial, whatever, but don't make things up and say that the OS X UI taxes the hardware. I use both operating systems and things as simple as vertical scrolling in a webpage is actually much smoother in OS X, something that displays vertical tearing and strobing when I scroll down very fast on my Windows 7 PC (i7 860 + GTX 285).

RE: "Learn" from competition?
By Pirks on 3/16/2010 11:31:02 AM , Rating: 2
the notion that it slows down the computer is ridiculous
For wintrolls it's not ridiculous at all 'cause they're wintrolls! harharhar

Wow adding insult to the injury
By crystal clear on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Wow adding insult to the injury
By phantom505 on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
By crystal clear on 3/15/2010 12:56:54 PM , Rating: 3
As far as I can tell, very few people need much more than the most basic smart phone. So who cares what anyone picks, comparing smart phone now seems to be more of beauty contest vs anything needed.

I agree !

RE: Wow adding insult to the injury
By hiscross on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: Wow adding insult to the injury
By whiskerwill on 3/15/2010 1:38:36 PM , Rating: 3
I've had this lousy BB Curve with 3G on Verizon now for almost 2 years. With Opera Mini it does everything an iPhone can do
You mean besides the accelerometer, the touch screen, the tens of thousands of add-on applications, and a few dozen other things?

I don't like Apple, but stupid statements like this just give Apple supporters more ammunition.

By Alexstarfire on 3/15/2010 3:55:44 PM , Rating: 2
The 10s of thousands of apps is really "access to Apple App Store" and very similarly, access/ability to use Flash in their web browser. I don't know about the rest, but by including 10s of thousands of apps you're basically saying that every other phone fails regardless of what it has on it unless it has access to those 10s of thousands of apps, of which only the iPhone and iPod Touch have access to.

By nikon133 on 3/15/2010 4:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
That is relative.

I have an iPhone and only downloaded application that I actually use is Stanza reader. Yes I do have 1 farting app, 2 shotgun/machine gun apps, lightsabre app, couple of games I have downloaded out of curiosity but never really played. At the end of the day, I'm using it as a phone, quick email check (I do like email app), txting, short Internet searches (text info only) and ebook reader.

Stanza is great reader but what really annoys me is that I can't drag and drop my old ebooks from PC to iPhone - I have to open each on Stanza Desktop and individually sync it with iPhone Stanza over wireless. True I don't read 20 books a day so it is not that much of an effort, but it is retarded and just one of annoying side-products of Apple's close system approach.

Additionally, while (still) good ebook reader, iPhone is very poor phone. Here in NZ, my iPhone (and couple others from my mates and people I know) are much less sensitive than other devices - I will get "No Service" on couple of spots around the city where my company Nokia E63 or previous BB Pearl had no problems. I actually thought there might be something wrong with my phone, but couple of other people confirmed same experience with theirs; it seems radio in iPhone leaves something to be desired, which is a bit of a shame for a premium phone.

RE: Wow adding insult to the injury
By crystal clear on 3/15/2010 2:14:25 PM , Rating: 2
Now it will be the iPad that will open Ballmer's eyes when he see the ipad's huge marketshare/revenues by this year end.

Now read this to back up my claims-

Day 1 estimate: 120,000 iPads sold

The team at Investor Village's AAPL Sanity board have completed their initial analysis of pre-orders for the iPad tablet computer.

Apple (AAPL) began taking orders on Friday for delivery starting April 3.

"Apple has been able to generate over $75 million in revenue in one day on a product that 99.9% of purchasers haven't touched or for that matter, even seen in person," said Victor Castroll, an analyst with Valcent Financial Group.

"And, we're still three weeks away. That is amazing."

By PrezWeezy on 3/15/2010 6:05:05 PM , Rating: 2
120,000 is less than 1 half of 1 tenth of a percent of the population in the US alone. Not exactly a blockbuster.
Not saying the iPad will be an iPhlop, but 120,000 isn't exactly a huge number in terms of total units. Break the million mark and it starts to mean something. But they are only 10% of the way there.

By phenimation on 3/18/2010 6:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah seriously. Can you stop posting this? We all know you're inclined in apple's direction. Like many people on this very forum have said before, pretty much anything apple sells sells well, thanks to their excellent marketing and their good reputation.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher

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