Even though Google is fast taking the lead, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more vibrant tech rivalry than Microsoft v. Apple, if only due to a historical competitiveness between two companies that stretches back more than 2 decades. If I may get nerdy on ya’ll for a second, I once tried to buy a shirt that said “Macintosh – All the features of Windows 95 since 1984.” So yeah, even though Microsoft v. Apple may not be as temperamental as it once was, there’s a history there that can’t be shaken and runs deep in the minds of Apple and Microsoft aficionados.
In light of that, it’s particularly interesting that a recent report from the WSJ notes that approximately 10% of MIcrosoft’s workforce uses iPhone, a potentially embarrassing figure considering that there are a plethora of smartphones out there that run Microsoft’s homegrown Windows Mobile OS. Though to be fair, given how poorly Windows Mobile stacks up to the iPhone and other Android devices, it actually might be more embarrassing to be seen around on Redmond’s campus sporting a Windows Mobile device. But I digress.
… iPhone users are in plain sight at Microsoft. At the sprawling campus here in a Seattle suburb, workers peck away on their iPhone touch-screens in conference rooms, cafeterias and lobbies. Among the top Microsoft executives who use the iPhone is J Allard, who helped create the Xbox game console and is chief experience officer for the entertainment and devices division.
Meanwhile, the report notes that nearly everyone over in Cupertino is plugging away on an iPhone, which really shouldn’t be all that surprising given that Apple gave away free iPhones, albeit the 4GB model, to all Apple employees back in June of 2007.
While Microsoft is painfully aware of the shortcomings of Windows Mobile, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re fine with seeing their own employees on rival products around campus. “Some Microsoft workers take pains to hide their iPhones,” the Journal reports, “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.”
Not to get all anti-Microsoft here (but hey, it’s almost reflexive at this point), but instead of creating an atmosphere where employees are afraid of whipping out an Apple iPhone, maybe Microsoft would be better served by actually delivering a mobile OS that would entice their iPhone doting employees to actually use a Windows Mobile device.
Word has it that Windows Mobile 7 may be the savior Redmond has been looking for in the mobile space, but if early demo videos are any indication, it doesn’t seem that we’ll see a dearth of iPhone users in Redmond anytime soon. We’ll have more on why Windows Mobile 7 (uh, Windows Phone 7 Series) won’t be all that and a bag of chips in an upcoming article.