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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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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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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