Microsoft vs. Apple: About 10% of Microsoft Employees Use an iPhone, Hide it from Execs
Article by George Norman
On 16 Mar 2010
About a year ago we were reporting that in the Gates household (as in Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft) the iPhone is a definite no-no. At the time Melinda Gates, Bill Gates’ wife said in an interview for Vogue that there are few items on the banned list in the Gates household “but iPods and iPhones are two things we don't get for our kids.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, there are about 10,000 Microsoft employees that use the Apple-developed device. Just to put things in perspective, this means that roughly 10% of all Microsoft employees use an iPhone. Because the iPhone is developed by longtime Microsoft rival Apple, these employees are naturally cautious about being seen with the iPhone.

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And for good reason – back in September for example, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer at a company meeting in Seattle snatched an iPhone from the hands on an employee, place it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it. The employee, who was using the device to take a picture of Ballmer, was unlucky enough to be spotted by him. Steve Ballmer of course uses a variety of Windows Mobile-powered phones, not an iPhone.

What type on Microsoft employee uses Apple’s iPhone? According to the WSJ, it’s the employees lower on the corporate scale that use the iPhone. Amongst each other, these employees freely use the iPhone; but when they come face to face with a senior executive, they hide the iPhone away.

Amongst Microsoft’s top executive, opinions on using the iPhone vary. Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, joined Microsoft in early 2008. Before joining Microsoft, he used to have an iPhone; upon joining Microsoft, he took the iPhone, put it in an industrial-strength blender, and blended the heck out of it – he did this during a sales representatives meeting. Microsoft Software Engineer Eugene Lin on the other hand is more open about using the iPhone. At a public talk in Seattle, Lin publicly admitted that in his spare time he develops software for the iPhone.



Tags: Apple, Microsoft, iPhone
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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