When it comes to the PC game, Apple is Microsoft's biggest rival. And, with Windows 8 set to hit tablets later this year and Windows Phone already well established, Microsoft is finding itself competing with Apple in more ways than one. So, it stands to reason that Microsoft wouldn't want employees using company funds to purchase Apple products, right? According to Mary Jo Foley's All About Microsoft blog, Microsoft's sales and marketing organization has apparently put the kibosh on purchasing Apple-branded equipment (specifically Macs and iPads) with company funds.
The following email was apparently sent around this day last week and details the new policy:
From: Alain Crozier Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:17 PMSubject: Apple PurchasesWithin 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
Microsoft hasn't commented on the email's authenticity (in fact, Foley says the company has refused to comment at all), but it's not really all that surprising if it does end up being true. It's not at all uncommon for companies to distribute their own products for business use among employees and it's not as though they're banning staff from owning any Apple products at all. Still, to actually come out and ban Apple products may seem like a drastic move to some.
If Apple products have been banned, they certainly lasted a lot longer at Microsoft than in the Gates' household. Three years back, in 2009, the wife of Microsoft founder Bill Gates revealed that iPods and iPhones were among the banned items not allowed in their house.