Microsoft Bans Employees From Using Apple Products As Work Machines


How will this ever become a reality if employees can't buy iPads?

For a good chunk of the last decade, Microsoft has had a hard time getting its employees to use its own products. During the iPod wars, Microsoft was hard pressed to get their employees to carry Zunes; when the iPhone came out, Microsoft employees wanted to trade in their Windows Phones… and one can only imagine the difficulties Microsoft will have getting employees to switch from their iPads to Windows 8 tablets.

So Microsoft, in their magnanimity, has decided to try to push employees along. A new report says that Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing, Services, IT & Operations Group has just sent out an email to employees, saying that they can no longer buy Apple products with company funds.

The email, reported by ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley, was sent to 46,000 Microsoft employees, and reads:

From: Alain Crozier
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:17 PM

Subject: Apple Purchases

Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds.

In the US we will be turning off the Apple products from the Zones Catalog next week, which is the standard purchasing mechanism for these products.

Outside of the US — we will work with your finance and procurement teams to send the right message and put the right processes in place.

The current purchase levels are low, however we recognize there will be a bit of transition work associated with this. Details of historical purchases in the US are provided in the attachment to help understand the changes that will be needed.Thank you for your support and leadership on this.

Alain Crozier
CFO | WW Sales, Marketing & Services Group
WW SMSG Finance

Pretty absurd and short-sighted, Alain! How are your employees going to work on porting Office to the iPad now?

What do you guys think? Is this an admission that Microsoft is running scared, or just some middle-manager’s short-sightedness?

  • kartika9

    Aww.. I sense some jealousy .. :)
    They just don’t want to make Apple richer?

  • Matt Sevely

    The problem with Macs and iPads is that you can ACTUALLY do some work on them. Instead of waiting for the IT guy to fix your PC, or restarting it cause it lags, or maybe have a cigarette or two, while your windows updates…

  • SteveLV702

    or having to just buy a new computer every month because of the Blue Screen of Death :)

  • Carloscmacedo

    That’s called standing behind your products…

  • drexyl9944

    seriously.  if i worked for coke i’d be an idiot to show up at the office drinking a pepsi.

  • chris

    They will still have iPads and whatnot for development.  That’s not what this policy is for.  However, it will get more of their employees to “eat their dog food,” and from all indications, Windows Phone and Windows 8 on tablets are pretty good products, and actually innovative in some we-didn’t-just-try-to-be-better-than-apple ways.  So it could be that this will actually help MS by getting more users on their products so that they can accelerate their innovation, bug fixes, and so forth.

    I’ve gotta feel for Matt Sevely, who sounds like he hasn’t used a decent PC in about 15 years.  :)   Believe me (I work extensively with Windows clients and servers, Apple devices (iPod / iPad / Macbook Air), Android, and Linux), I just spent 2 hours last night on one of our Macs trying to get stuff patched and working correctly.  This is one of the new Macbook Airs owned by a smart person who is a middle-of-the-road person with respect to technical knowledge.  And yet in 3 months of ownership, she had partly broken Internet capabilities (links did not work in Safari, for example), busted system updates (one update is repeatedly installing … and then saying it needs to install again), tons of programs that started themselves at startup that she didn’t request, and which were lagging her machine, and patches (not counting the busted one) for both Office and OS X that were way out of date.  The fact is that neither Mac nor Windows has a corner on being breakable or on any other potential problems.  Linux desktops are a little less ready-for-prime-time, but they are catching up.

    So I’m not looking to get bashed here – just sharing some thoughts from a more balanced perspective – the more sure you are that your product is unimpeachably great, the more surely your apathy is creating space for a good competitor to mount an attack.

  • prof_peabody

    I think this email is the strongest indicator yet that there actually *isn’t* going to be an Office for iPad any time soon.  If they were making Office for iPad, they wouldn’t be banning iPad from the Office. 

  • Jeremy

    The memo said “will not be purchased with company funds”. it says nothing about people who buy their own iPhones or iPads. I don’t see a problem with this.

    It’s the company’s money, they can regulate how they spend (or not spend ) however they want.

  • ken147

    Or figure which model to get out of the hundreds to choose from :D

  • joewaylo

    “Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds.”

    Doesn’t stop employees from buying iPhones and iPads with their own money though. They make enough money to spend $199 of their own credit card money and bring an iPhone to work. And $100 a month to stay connected.
    Microsoft might think twice though about dropping Mac products from being used. Windows 8 was designed with a Mac a few weeks ago. Their keynote presentation is designed with a Mac, not a Windows machine from “Microsoft Fail” pictures.

  • emoraz

    Microsoft?!? That thing still exists?!? Wow…

  • Mark Roxberry

    Same deal as most manufacturers (like auto, appliances, etc.).  I know of car dealerships that will fire staff if they have a competitor’s vehicle in the parking lot.  Also, consider that it’s not necessarily Microsoft but its OEMs that don’t like the idea of Sales / Marketing using a competitor’s product.

  • Shakezulla86

    Theres a difference between standing behind your product, and standing in front of others. 

  • James S

    The title is misleading, the email targets a group in Microsoft, mostly sales that states they can not purchase Apple products with company funds. They can still use Apple products if they choose but would be out of their own pockets. My last contract there, I saw many of the employees with iPhones, not Windows mobile. Even after the freebie give away, most opted to stick with iPhone.

  • Jeremy

    Thank you, James. The title is VERY misleading. People just read the headline and not the article; which, from my observations, is common practice on News websites. They will post a ridiculous headline that is misleading knowing full well that people will only read the headline and not the article and then form their opinions based on the headline itself.

  • Don Pope

    A CFO is not a middle manager. That’s pretty close to the top.

  • Rob Mitchell

    I got a great Dell/MSWindows laptop and a great Apple MacBookPro. The Dell laptop collects dust, sitting there unused. I turned it on the other day and it took about 15 minutes to startup, get through a bunch of security installs, then plagued me with installing more stuff. After downloading and saying, ya sure, go’head and install more MS crap, it rebooted for about another 15 minutes (sigh). 

    I opened my Apple MacBookPro, immediately greeted, logged-in, and started working. No fuss, no muss, no waiting. Productive from the get-go.

  • Josh Wood

    Yep and the OS currently enjoys an 89.14% market share.  Stick your head back in the hole you crawled out of.

  • Rob Bowers

    or eating your own dogpoop

  • Carloscmacedo

    Yep, sad but true!

  • Carloscmacedo

    I don’t think that’s got anything to do with it.

    They will be making a similar product, so they want to make sure that at least for work, they’ll be using theirs.

    I think Office for iPad will come eventually, and has nothing to do with that new policy.

  • emoraz

    Hmmmm… Really? Should I care about the 89.14% market share?!? Yeah I will keep my head back in the hole.

  • Brandon Dillon

    When Nokia’s current CEO stepped into command, one of the first things he said was, “why isn’t everyone [Nokia employees] using iPhones.” In the context of all of the employees needing to have one for the fact that it is the main competition.

    There is no pride to be had in inferior products, Nokia’s CEO has embraced that, and isn’t too prideful to admit that their products are not the best. Eric Schmidt, however, is either lying to himself, his company, and consumers, or he is a fool to believe Android is actually a superior OS. And not just superior, far superior, like comparing MS-DOS to Windows 95 superior.

    Anyways, Windows is a company that doesn’t admit to their weaknesses, they merely hold their chin up high and give a polite smile and pretend that they are still the greatest. The decision-makers of the company need to go to an AA meeting; the first step to recovery is admitting your problem. They could recover their previous overwhelming customer-base ratio (MS to Apple) if they would address their faults/weaknesses and tried to improve.

  • Dave

    Who cares about office for ipad, who cares for office for Mac, it really doesn’t work well on a PC. I’m liking Pages and Numbers better ever time I use either one of them. Microsoft is just a company that doesn’t know that they are dead yet.

  • Christopher Jr. Riley

    I agree what you mean; in my opinion, the world would be better without MS Office, and people can just use Pages, Keynote, and Numbers (or even LibreOffice for all I care). But I have iWork, Office, and LibreOffice in my MacBook for a reason: compatibility. You have to admit, even though iWork is compatible with Office files, there are a few things that iWork either can’t read or doesn’t read properly. Especially if it’s for very proprietary things.

    Again, just saying; I don’t want arguments, and I agree what your saying. But some people just need satisfaction that they are going to have better compatibility.

  • Mike Rathjen

    Well I for one see a problem with this.

    The software team at Microsoft that makes Office for Mac will just have to use their personal money to buy Macs? How about the MS teams making iOS apps, they’ll have to use their personal money to get iOS devices?

  • John Howell

    So no MS developers working on iOS apps for Office then? No test machines for Office for OS X? Or are they going to operate on a BYOD basis for these developers?