Interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal looking at iPhone use by Microsoft employees. But does it matter what phone (or any other tool for that matter) that people use, as long as they get the job done?
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.
Employees at Apple, in contrast, appear to be more devoted to the company's own mobile phone. Several people who work at the company or deal regularly with employees there say they can't recall seeing Apple workers with mobile phones other than the iPhone in recent memory.
Microsoft isn't all that happy about iPhone usage, and will no longer pick up the tab:
In what some employees interpreted as a sign that Microsoft was clamping down on the iPhone, the company in early 2009 modified its corporate cellphone policy to only reimburse service fees for employees using phones that run on Windows Phone software.
Now, it's no doubt bad PR for Microsoft to have employees walking around using a competitor's handset, but workers are there to do a job, and to PR is left to those paid to do that particular job (if those handling the Windows Mobile development and PR are using iPhones, then that's not a good sign though!).
People pick what fits best with their work and home life, and if that's an iPhone then Microsoft should see this as a learning opportunity, rather than try stamping out the practice. There has to be a reason why Microsoft employees are turning to iPhones, and that could be valuable information.
To be honest though, I think I know why so many employees are turning to iPhones and other non-Microsoft handsets, and that's because so Windows Mobile handsets, and the OS they run, have offered users a pretty poor experience for years now. I know, I've handled countless Windows Mobile devices over the past few years and I've ultimately been disappointed by them all. The handset that people use is a tool, and that tool has to work. I think that it's a fair bet that the reason why some Microsofties are turning their back on Windows Mobile handsets is because they too see the limitations.
People want a tool that works.