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Microsoft Barring Certain Staff From Buying Macs, iPads? 416

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-apple-for-you dept.
mr100percent writes "Microsoft has reportedly moved to prohibit employees in its Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, and Operations Group (SMSG) from using company funds to purchase any products produced by Apple. The company had already barred staffers from using expense allocations for competing smartphone platforms, however the new guidelines explicitly note that Macs and iPads have been added to the list. 'Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds,' an alleged letter distributed to staff reads."
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Microsoft Barring Certain Staff From Buying Macs, iPads?

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  • Barring? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:35PM (#39430813)
    Barring and "should not be purchased with company funds" are two entirely different things.
    • Re:Barring? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Skapare (16644) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:39PM (#39430905) Homepage

      This only says not to buy those things with company money. IOW, Microsoft doesn't want its own company money to be supporting Apple and other competitors. It is not applicable for staff buying them for personal use.

      Any company is perfectly within their rights to specify how the company money is spent.

      • Re:Barring? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:41PM (#39430951)

        More to the point, Microsoft has always tried (AFAIK) to eat its own dogfood, so this seems to be simply an extension of that as opposed to any particular malice.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by rainmouse (1784278)
          And also worth considering is that a typical mac product costs an awful lot more. It makes simple business sense. Ever seen data entry staff sitting in rows on iPads? No of course not.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            And also worth considering is that a typical mac product costs an awful lot more.

            No its doesnt, stop this myth. Our Dell laptops are almost 200 dollars more expensive than a like equipped Macbook Pro. The cost significance is so great that we are thinking of dropping Dells all together and moving to Macbook Airs for both PC AND Mac users because even with Win7 licensing costs added, its STILL cheaper to buy a 1 grand MacBook Air over a like model Dell.

            Ever seen data entry staff sitting in rows on iPads? No of course not.

            You bet your ass I have seen 60 Sales and Marketing staffers using iPads in the field, and we are starting to move 500 positions who DONT

        • Re:Barring? (Score:5, Funny)

          by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @03:31PM (#39431853)

          I've had a dog and I've owned Microsoft products. I'm not sure if "eating its own dog food" is the correct analogy.

        • Re:Barring? (Score:4, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @03:54PM (#39432197)
          Screw you and your God damned "logic." I hate MS and all they stand for, so this is an egregious exercise in corporate favoritism/fascism. Then again I do not like Apple either so it is not so bad. Wait, I also no longer like google. Fuck it, I need a beer.
      • Re:Barring? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:52PM (#39431173)

        This is more than just money..... it's selling to the customer. Wouldn't it look bad if a Microsoft employee came to your company to demo a new product, and they whipped-out their Apple Macbook to give the presentation? Or even less obvious... the MS presenter spends the lunchbreak listening to an iPod. It sends the wrong message that "Yeah I work for Microsoft but I really prefer Apple."

        Telling sales staff to not buy Apple (and instead use Microsoft products as frequently as possible), is the same as a store giving employees 40% off if they buy and wear the store's goods. It shows that the employee not only sells but also uses the product day-to-day.

        • A mod point, a mod point, a kingdom for a mod point!

          Thank you for pointing out the important distinction that this request was for *sales* staff purchases with company funds. There's no indication in the summary that other divisions were affected by this request. Here's to you get to +5 Insightful quick!

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by KevReedUK (1066760)

            There's no indication in the summary that other divisions were affected by this request.

            employees in its Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, and Operations Group (SMSG)

            ...so it's not just the sales staff!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Pokermike (896718)

          is the same as a store giving employees 40% off if they buy and wear the store's goods

          In fact, it could be worse -- MS is paying for the equipment. Most clothing retailers require employees to wear the company's clothes while at work and to purchase said clothing with their own money (discounted, of course).

        • Wouldn't it look bad if a Microsoft employee came to your company to demo a new product, and they whipped-out their Apple Macbook to give the presentation?

          It wouldn't if the Macbook ran Windows 7. :)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by pclminion (145572)

          Wouldn't it look bad if a Microsoft employee came to your company to demo a new product, and they whipped-out their Apple Macbook to give the presentation?

          Wouldn't it look bad if a VP dropped in on your internal product demo and asked "So how does this compare to that Apple shit that we're trying to compete with" and you have to say "I have no idea since I'm not allowed to buy a fucking Mac to make the comparison?"

        • Actually, microsoft sells mostly software. Pretty much all their software for pcs runs on macs, right from windows on. They could use apple machines, with windows on them, or even mac os, provided they still use microsoft Office produts for mac on them.

          What would be shameful would be to see MS sales people giving a presentation using apple's Keynote. On a hackintosh dell running Lion.

      • by spd_rcr (537511)

        I wonder if Apple has a similar policy, although you can bet they have Microsoft Office installed everywhere they need people to be productive.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          Anyone who needs Office to be productive is useless. What you need is gvim (or notepad++ if you are too retarded to learn a good editor), a good VCS, and a decent C or FORTRAN compiler. If all IT companies sacked all employees that couldn't understand a Makefile, we would all be better off. And as a bonus: unless you're looking at solving nonlinear coupled PDEs, you'll get enough speed from gcc or gfortran, so all your tools are free!
      • IOW, Microsoft doesn't want its own company money to be supporting Apple and other competitors.

        But the memo doesn't mention anything about other competitors, just Apple.

        So apparently it's fine to show up to work with a Sansa MP3 player, Blackberry Playbook, and an Android smartphone.

        • Re:Barring? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by husker_man (473297) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @04:59PM (#39433139)
          I used to work at Motorola. About twelve years ago, the president of the company (Chris Galvin) was upset at the number of employees who worked there who had cell phones from other vendors - Nokia being the chief sore spot at the time. Word came down from management that it was not a good idea for one's career to be using a non-Motorola phone for either personal or corporate use. To be fair, they did give us excellent discounts ongoing on Motorola phones, so it was pretty much a good thing.
          • I used to work at Motorola. About twelve years ago, the president of the company (Chris Galvin) was upset at the number of employees who worked there who had cell phones from other vendors - Nokia being the chief sore spot at the time. Word came down from management that it was not a good idea for one's career to be using a non-Motorola phone for either personal or corporate use. To be fair, they did give us excellent discounts ongoing on Motorola phones, so it was pretty much a good thing.

            That's quite idiotic. If they worried that too many Motorola employees bought non-Motorola phones with their own money, then they should have tried to make better phones.

    • by firex726 (1188453)

      Plus most employees with an expense account, probably have enough of a salary to buy one on their own anyways.

      First level rep in TS who answers your phone call, does not have an expense account.
      VP of Operations who fly's to a different city on a regular basis, does have one.

    • by hsmith (818216)
      Why would MS want any sales or support staff, which is customer facing, to be using Apple or Google products in front of customers?

      It makes perfect sense, I don't see why it is news.
      • 'cause they sell stuff designed to run on an apple OS? including powerpoint?

        including tons of apps on the itunes store?

    • by f3rret (1776822)

      Barring and "should not be purchased with company funds" are two entirely different things.

      Yeah oddly enough I've no problem with this. It's Microsoft's money, they get to make the rules.

  • Right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:36PM (#39430827) Homepage

    And this is news... how exactly?
    Don't most companies ban using company funds to buy competitors' products for operational staff?

    • Re:Right (Score:5, Funny)

      by ashmon (592459) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:40PM (#39430923)

      They're just letting us know that MS wants its own employees to use the best possible tech available.

    • Well I guess some employees have tried to buy Apple stuff on their expense allocation. But this is completely nuts! Who are those Microsoft Employees who tried to do that? If I was their manager, I'd have fired them right away!

      Buying those Apple things for personal use with personal money is already a little tricky as a MS employee, let alone trying to have it free using the employer's money! How would these be useful to fulfill work tasks anyway?

    • Probably... although- I suspect Microsoft's competitors can't do the same thing.

      Apple or Google would have a difficult time telling their company that money can't be spent on wintel machines. Apple probably could- but it would hurt their bottom line significantly.

    • It's basically saying "If you don't work on software for Apple hardware, don't expect us to buy you a toy."

    • by mevets (322601)

      | Don't most companies ban using company funds to buy competitors' products for operational staff?

      It is interesting that they had to make a rule. That implies that a notable quantity of staff were choosing Apple products first.

      I worked at a now swallowed vendor of servers and workstations. Despite producing competing products, MicroSoft computers were commonplace until OS X came along. In a way, that was even stranger, since they were saying Apple's version of UNIX is better than ours.

    • Don't most companies ban using company funds to buy competitors' products for operational staff?

      Especially, when said company produce products that can be used instead of competitor product. That is common sense in my opinion.

  • by g051051 (71145) * on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:36PM (#39430831)

    Lots of companies, including the one I work for, won't let you arbitrarily buy Apple products with company money.

  • by aardvarkjoe (156801) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:37PM (#39430847)
    Just when I thought that the quality level of Slashdot stories couldn't get any lower, samzenpus swoops in to prove me wrong.
  • Say its not so! Save us Captain Capitalism!
  • by gregarican (694358) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:38PM (#39430859) Homepage

    Company expenses cannot be used by employees for purchasing competing products? I'm aghast with surprise! Oh yeah, this is Microsoft we are talking about. So it's news *rolls eyes*

  • by Enry (630) <(enry) (at) (wayga.net)> on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:38PM (#39430865) Journal

    Company tries to prevent sending money to its rivals. Film at 11.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:38PM (#39430869)

    "With company funds" being the keywords here.

  • Sounds Reasonable (Score:5, Informative)

    by donleyp (745680) * on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:39PM (#39430903) Homepage
    Do you think that there are any people at Apple with Windows laptops? Probably a few, but talk about a career limiting move :) Fun fact: new employees at Google are told that "they better have a good reason" if they request a Windows laptop for their primary machine.
  • The Car Analogy (Score:5, Informative)

    by jdastrup (1075795) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:41PM (#39430947)
    And Ford employees are only giving a discount when buying Ford cars, and only specific Ford cars. It doesn't stop them from buying a different car with their own money for their own personal use.

    Interesting, though, that it's only certain departments, not the entire company. Going back to Ford, many of the senior levels I knew were allowed to buy (or at least drive company-owned cars) that were the competition. They claimed it helped them learn about the competition. I have no problem with that.
    • by sqlrob (173498)

      It's kind of hard to develop Office for the iPad or Mac if you're not allowed to buy any. So yeah, it does make sense that it's limited to certain departments.

      That also means that the ban doesn't make much sense even for Sales, since they'll have to demo the things that run on Apple.

      • I would say that only the Office for Mac people (sales, developers) would be allowed to have Macs. Everyone else has to justify why.
    • I have heard that only Fords were allowed to park in the parking lots at the Ford plants back in the olden days. You could go and buy a Dodge if you wanted one, but you'd have to walk to work.

    • by Americano (920576)

      Interesting, though, that it's only certain departments, not the entire company.

      Somebody at Microsoft kind of needs to have a Mac if they're doing to keep writing the OS X version of Office; They also have iOS clients for Skydrive, their XBox Live gaming platform, and reports of an Office for iOS [thedaily.com] product have been floating around for a while now.

      Microsoft *is* actively developing for these platforms, so if they put a blanket ban across the company, that would kind of hinder the efforts of those groups to p

  • ...from using company funds to purchase any products produced by Apple.

    While it makes me want to ask "why?" when I first read this, I would say that it's entirely reasonable for Microsoft to decide what equipment Microsoft funds are used to purchase.

    • I see that point.

      On the other hand, assuming programmers are grouped in with IT, it could be a bad thing. You'd want them to know what they're competing with, and to understand why a rival's product is so popular.

      • ... assuming programmers are grouped in with IT, it could be a bad thing. You'd want them to know what they're competing with, and to understand why a rival's product is so popular.

        Good point; I wouldn't be surprised if individual exceptions were made by management on an "as needed" basis.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @02:50PM (#39431143)

    I'm pretty sure apple has similar rules about buying MS products with company funds.

    Would apple be okay with their employees buying lots of MS mobile phones using company resources? I doubt it. Sure, there's not much chance of them choosing to do that but the reality is that no company is going to be happy about it's employees using company resources to buy a competitor's products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by KrazyDave (2559307)
      I'm pretty sure Apple doesn't need similar rules about buying MS products.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I would think that MS Office may be on many employee machines at Apple. I would also think that many machines would have MS Windows to demo how Bootcamp works, though maybe they are using VMBox. As far as hardware, MS does not make computers, so that is a non issue. I suspect that if Apple has lounges and game rooms, an xBox 360 would be present.

      As far as Phones, I suspect that Apple has the same policy that 90% of the US has. That the phones are garbage.

  • . . . new exciting Apple products seem to get lost in bars, grabbed by Hollywood stars and tossed through Windows(tm) or face similar more dreadful fates . . .

    . . . Microsoft is just concerned about their potential loss of property/capital . . .

  • by p0p0 (1841106)
    What until we find out employee paychecks are considered company funds and they aren't allowed to purchase them with their own money.
  • The summary makes it clear that the employees just can't use company funds to buy Apple products... and the programmers who make Microsoft's software for Apple platforms are not in the group this affects. It's basically saying "Don't use your expense account for toys we don't need." The employees involved are free to spend their paycheck at the Apple Store however they want... not really a ban as much as it's adding these two items to things Microsoft won't pay for.

  • by HockeyPuck (141947) on Wednesday March 21, 2012 @03:09PM (#39431477)

    At Coca Cola, you can't even talk about P*psi [pepsico.com] based products, bring one in to work or eat at their sponsored establishments.

    As a comparison... here's Coca Cola's list of brands. [thecoca-colacompany.com]

    So "don't buy a iPhone with MSFT's company's funds" is a lot easier than "don't consume our competitors products while on business." Not so easy when you're flying and you want a drink and the only drinks that the airline carries are from your competitor...

  • Non story. Slow news day eh?

  • Does Apple forbid their employees to purchase Windows PCs, Tablets, Phones, etc. with company money? ... would they even need to?

    I mean MS has every right to forbid this, and anything short of research into the competition shouldn't warrant use of company funds to purchase these things anyway. The fact MS employees would have the gaull and disloyalty to bring those things into the office alone is disrespectful. Trying to get the company to pay for them is flat out insulting. If your employees don't believe

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