Skip to main content

10% of Microsoft Employees Secretly Using iPhones?

Much to the chagrin of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Devices and Entertainment honcho Robbie Bach, the Wall Street Journal reports that even publicly stomping on employee iPhones hasn't stamped them out:

Nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system last year, say two people who heard the estimates from senior Microsoft executives. That figure equals about 10% of the company's global work force.

Outside of specific development units like Bing for iPhone, while using an iPhone at Microsoft isn't forbidden, it's discouraged. Microsoft will only re-emburse expenses for Windows Phone-based devices. Likewise, several executives have spoken out against using iPhones, including Ballmer who quipped that his father worked at Ford and so his family always drove Ford.

While a few use the openly, others hide them in generic cases -- or make sure not to answer them if they're in a room with Ballmer. (Or use them if they're a member of the Gates family!)

Apple employees, of course, are not thought to be using Windows Mobile devices in any perceptible quantity. Could Windows Phone 7 Series change that...?

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Windows sucks..... Haaahaaa 
  • Nice lost photoshop.
  • I worked at Microsoft until the layoffs last year and can attest to the fact that most of the people I worked with not only had iPhones but also MacBook Pros. I recently had a call from one of the head mobile guys telling me he had seen WinMo 7 and asked me of I would jailbreak an iPhone for him. There you go.
  • Go get an Windows theme on your iPhone.
  • This really shouldn't be all that surprising. Larry Hyrb (Major Nelson) spoke about this on his podcast last week. Most Microsoft employees are free to use whichever cell they would like, so i'm actually surprised that the number isn't bigger. I'd also like to see how many employees are using BlackBerry's as well.
    Since a smartphone allows you to easily access your email from a server, the amount of MS employees using other company's smartphone should reflect the overall consumer base.
  • This is absolutely true. A friend of mine from high school used to work for Dell, but he was hired by Microsoft and moved to Redmond a year or two ago. He only recently got rid of his iPhone, although he was torn about doing so. His wife still regularly uses her iPhone (unless Atebits has come out with Tweetie for WinMo).
  • Ford uh, guess his family walked alot. If they do not want you using iPhone, make a better product. Remember Vista. Mr IT I can't read my company email at home, what's going on? Well Vista will not talk to XP. Microsoft are their own worst enemy sometimes. Windows 7 is not much better.
  • Lol should be aloud to use whatever phone they want! They dont own them lol and i have htc hd2 theme on iphone looks sweet
  • I would not discourage the use of an iPhone working for Microsoft but would not have employees using them as their work phone. At the office you should be carrying your companies products IF the company is willing to pay for them.
  • There's nothing secret about it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were higher than 10%. There is no discouragement, and unless you're in some kind of sales position, they're not reimbursing your phone expenses anyway.
    Who comes up with this nonsense?
  • I say good for them and this blog is always just late with all it's news.
  • I work for verizon on one of the main corporate campuses and it's astonishing how many vz employees also carry iPhones.
  • As long as the company is not paying for it or the phone is not being used in public were the employee is serving as a representative of Microsoft who cares?
  • And that's what FREEDOM is all about! Drive the make of car you want and use the Smart Phone you like too!
  • This sounds absolutely stupid. What business is it of the company you work for which phone you use? Are they gonna start choosing your meals for you next? Naming your children?
  • lol the title of this article should read ''Microsoft is not as big of a dictatorship as Apple!'' I wonder if apple employees are allowed to use anything other than iPhones. Knowing Mr. Jobs if ur caught with anything other than an iPhone he will execute them.
  • I'll second @Jeff. There are lots of people using iPhones at MS, but also a mix of phones from other vendors as well. There's nothing "secret" about it.
    Although it is true that if you have an iPhone, it's probably a good idea to tuck it away in the presence of executives.
  • If 10% of the employees at Microsoft use iPhones, so what. Quit treating them like criminals. Instead, turn them into a focus group. Sit them down and find out what they specifically want from their Windows based mobile phone and see if you can turn them away from their iPhones. I'm sure they would use a Windows based phone if it was at least as good as the Apple counterpart.
  • I have found it surprising how many non-Mac users have iPhones. They seem to just like the iPhone while not necessarily being a Mac user or the shove-it-down-your-throat Apple evangelists that so many Mac users are.
  • This is crap, pure and simple. Microsoft doesn't discourage the use of iPhones. Do they WANT you to use the company product? Sure, but they won't tell you that you cannot use an iPhone.
    And iPhone users don't keep it a secret, I see them used in meetings all the time.
    As for that "public stomping" of an iPhone, first, it wasn't public, it was at the company meeting which is restricted to employees (and the venue staff), and second it wasn't actually stomped. He put it on the ground and stomped the ground NEXT to the phone. It was merely showboating to tell you how he feels about iPhones in general. Sure he can't keep his mouth shut when he should, but as for actual distruction of someone else's property Steve Balmer really wouldn't be that stupid.
  • Not to mention, iPhones are SO DAMN CHATTY on the network, they are easy to block, so if MS didn't want their people using iPhones, they could stop it.
    Seriously, load up something like Wire Shark and watch the network traffic, Apple devices are the worst for useless network chatter. I would love to block them off my network and stop them from slowing my network down.
  • I'm sure Apple allows people to use non-iPhone devices...if they really want to waste their time with inferior products. ;)
  • Lol should be aloud to use whatever phone they want! They dont own them lol and i have htc hd2 theme on iphone looks sweet
  • They could have decided to make it “on-par” with the web browsers available at the time which wouldn’t be able to view many/most sites.
  • There is no discouragement, and unless you’re in some kind of sales position, they’re not reimbursing your phone expenses anyway.
  • As long as the company is not paying for it or the phone is not being used in public were the employee is serving as a representative of Microsoft who cares?