Microsoft Employees Use iPhones, Also Enjoy Oxygen and Committed Relationships

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Steve Jobs's dark merlot stains the collars of about 10 percent of Microsoft employees.
Ask anyone who works at Microsoft whether or not they have co-workers who use an iPhone and you're bound to get one or two stories about employees who'll refuse to answer a call in front of their boss, because it'll betray their preference for the competition.

That some Redmond employees prefer Apple's smartphone to Microsoft's lame offerings is no surprise. (Hence the headline.) Still, Nick Wingfield of The Wall Street Journal deserves credit for sussing out the extent to which Apple's superior product has overwhelmed the brand loyalty of Microsoft employees.

Here are some highlights.

- Don't let Ballmer catch you.

The perils of being an iPhone user at Microsoft were on display last September. At an all- company meeting in a Seattle sports stadium, one hapless employee used his iPhone to snap photos of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee's hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present.
- One out of every 10 Microsoft employees uses an iPhone.
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.
- Siding with Apple means paying your own damn bill.
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 WindowsPhone software.
And, of course, if you must fool around, make sure to cover your tracks.
Some Microsoft workers take pains to hide their iPhones. 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.
 
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