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Microsoft Staff Hide Their iPhones From Executives

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 41 comments

Roughly 10 percent of people at Microsoft own iPhones. While most of them aren't shy about their choice of cell phone, some of them hide or disguise their devices while they're at work.

Last September Steve Ballmer sent out a pretty clear message when he pretended to smash an employee's iPhone. Ballmer was reportedly running around, whooping, waving and shouting. When an employee tried to take his picture with an iPhone, the CEO took it from him, made some funny remarks while everyone else booed and then put it on the floor and pretended to stomp on it. The device was fine; Ballmer was just teasing after all. But how do iPhone-toting Microsofties feel about flashing their phones now?

This past weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a report about iPhone use at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters. Roughly 10 percent of Microsoft staff are said to be using Apple's iPhone and apparently, some of them go a long way to hide it.

WSJ reports that while many of them don't care who sees them tapping away on their iPhones in the lobby, the cafeteria or even the conference room, there are those who definitely don't want their devices being seen.

WSJ:

While rank-and-file workers tend to use the iPhone openly around peers, some conceal them within sight of more senior executives. One Microsoft worker said he knows several colleagues who try to disguise their iPhones with cases that make them look more like generic handsets.

"Maybe once a year I'm in a meeting with Steve Ballmer," said this employee. "It doesn't matter who's calling, I'm not answering my phone."

Though a few executives at Microsoft have said staff members often use rival products to better understand the competition, recent statements made by COO Kevin Turner counter their reasoning. Turner made it clear that "what's good for the field is good for Redmond." It seems Steve Ballmer agrees. If his aversion to iPhones was not made clear enough back in September, Ballmer echoed Turner's comments about company loyalty. Ballmer says that when he was growing up, his father worked for Ford, and his family always drove Fords.

Read the full story here.

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Top Comments
  • 14 Hide
    shadow187 , March 15, 2010 12:42 PM
    Steve jobs would find a way to use an electronic magnetic pulse (EMP) to target any non-apple phone in the vicinity.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    theholylancer , March 15, 2010 12:08 PM
    wonder how good the M$ employee pricing plan is compared to the plan for pre-crash ford.

  • 3 Hide
    schwiing , March 15, 2010 12:09 PM
    Talk about dedication! It would be different if people were using Macs at work...that's something you either need to hide or keep at home if you work in Redmond
  • Display all 41 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    Sihastru , March 15, 2010 12:16 PM
    Apple propaganda... even so, only 10%, that's a fail.
  • -6 Hide
    jincongz , March 15, 2010 12:29 PM
    And btw, Ballmer's father died in a Pinto.
    ^Not a fact.
  • 2 Hide
    deadlockedworld , March 15, 2010 12:31 PM
    sihastruApple propaganda... even so, only 10%, that's a fail.


    This is a pretty pathetic argument. That said, imagine how pissed Steve Jobs would be if 1% of Apple employees used windows phones... or if google entered their phone market...
  • 14 Hide
    shadow187 , March 15, 2010 12:42 PM
    Steve jobs would find a way to use an electronic magnetic pulse (EMP) to target any non-apple phone in the vicinity.
  • 2 Hide
    Camikazi , March 15, 2010 12:44 PM
    deadlockedworldThis is a pretty pathetic argument. That said, imagine how pissed Steve Jobs would be if 1% of Apple employees used windows phones... or if google entered their phone market...

    Yea well Steve Jobs likes to control everything, so he would probably be pissed off if a computer that is anything but glossy white entered Apple Headquarters.
  • 3 Hide
    velocityg4 , March 15, 2010 12:50 PM
    I don't really see the reason not to expect product loyalty from employees. Though it is not a requirement I am sure the bosses keep those employees in mind even if subconsciously as potential candidates in times of layoffs.
  • 2 Hide
    mavanhel , March 15, 2010 1:06 PM
    Well, I must say that I haven't really been following cell phone news all that rigorously, but are there even that many windows phones (if any) on the market right now? Maybe when more windows phones are on the market and tested fully it would be reasonable for MS to expect a certain amount of product loyalty from their employees.
  • 1 Hide
    Parsian , March 15, 2010 1:16 PM
    i think those people are responsible for all M$ fails... :D 
  • -1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , March 15, 2010 1:32 PM
    Don't you just love the corporate attitude? Total disregard for freedom of choice. Its' all about control.
  • 1 Hide
    kelemvor4 , March 15, 2010 1:35 PM
    I'm generally not a Microsoft fan, but I have to agree with him on one point: Loyalty is important. In my opinion it's important in all areas of my life, including loyalty to my employer.

    In this case, it's even more important as it's a competitor's product with competing logos. In my office for example, clothing with any company logo on it (other than ours) is forbidden. It's not a rule I've ever seen actually enforced, but I noticed it in a recent training class.

    Personally I'm surprised a fortune 500 company like Microsoft is allowing cell phones with cameras on the premises. Most do not, for risk of corporate espionage. I am carrying a blackberry 8830 world edition especially because of this and the ability to roam in other countries.
  • 0 Hide
    keitmo , March 15, 2010 1:43 PM
    Naturally, the *only* reason to disguise an iPhone is to hide it from management. One would never hide it to, say, discourage theft.
  • 1 Hide
    saaiello , March 15, 2010 2:04 PM
    Loyalty to your company. Hmm I would say loyalty is very important to having a well rounded company but its a phone Microsoft is behind in that field lets face it the I Phone is an awesome phone. It wasn't like they are toting around a mac book that i could see as a problem.
  • 1 Hide
    kelemvor4 , March 15, 2010 2:30 PM
    I would disagree about Microsoft being "behind" here, at least from a technical perspective. MS has had windows CE (recently renamed Windows Mobile) since 1996. I owned one in 2002, and it did most of the things the iphone does today back then. Touch screen, web browsing (albeit much smaller), played music etc. It also had a SD slot so you could upgrade the storage, and they had an upgraded model (which I did not buy) that had a CF slot so you could put hard drives, or anything else onto it. You could even connect a kb/mouse to it with an adapter in that slot.

    No doubt, iphone is far more trendy and probably less than twice the thickness of the WinCE touch phone I had in 2002, but I think if anything Apple just recently caught up (and surpassed in popularity) to MS in the cellphone market.
  • 1 Hide
    cookoy , March 15, 2010 2:56 PM
    Better to ask some of these employees why they prefer the competition. Maybe they do have valid reasons. Then work on those inputs rather than sitting on the ivory tower doing wishful thinking.
  • -2 Hide
    jcknouse , March 15, 2010 3:16 PM
    JohnnyLuckyDon't you just love the corporate attitude? Total disregard for freedom of choice. Its' all about control.


    Yep. In the way of corporate mentality: paycheck = control

    If Ballmer or any other executive grabbed my non-Microsoft away from me, and they didn't have a contractual requirement of me to only use MS products.

    Well, that executive would either have damaged body parts or I'd have them in handcuffs for theft.

    You're spot on, though. Seems more and more that companies think because they pay you for your professional talents means that they can tell you what to use, how to act, and what places you can go.
  • 4 Hide
    rklein03 , March 15, 2010 3:24 PM
    jcknouseYep. In the way of corporate mentality: paycheck = controlIf Ballmer or any other executive grabbed my non-Microsoft away from me, and they didn't have a contractual requirement of me to only use MS products.Well, that executive would either have damaged body parts or I'd have them in handcuffs for theft.You're spot on, though. Seems more and more that companies think because they pay you for your professional talents means that they can tell you what to use, how to act, and what places you can go.


    This is just taking the whole joke Ballmer tried to crack too far. Honestly if anyone at Microsoft really is offended that an employee uses an Iphone they have bigger issues. What it all boils down to is some employees want to play it safe and don't want to rock the boat. Even if they had their Iphone on their desk it would not matter, not a big deal and I am sure that Microsoft feels the same way. Now when your talking the execs, they may indeed choose to not use one, not because they were told not to, but because they are more loyal to the brand than someone that files paperwork and does data entry.
  • 1 Hide
    aford10 , March 15, 2010 3:29 PM
    The days of corporate loyatly are gone. Companies don't give much of a thought to shipping jobs to another country to save a few dollars.

    Hopefully employees would be behind the products they sell, and use them as well. However, if their employee discount isn't enough to convince them to buy their own product, that's their choice.
  • 0 Hide
    slimkiller , March 15, 2010 3:52 PM
    Maybe the executives need to realize why people are buying the iPhone, its much more superior than Windows Mobile phones. If they knew better, they would try to improve on their products to beat the iPhone and hopefully see their employees make their own choice in buying the windows mobile phones not force them to hide the iPhones and deny their products are crappier.
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