Nearly 10,000 Microsoft employees, or roughly 10% of the company’s global work force, are iPhone users, according to a new report. Citing two people who heard estimates from senior Microsoft executives, the Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system in 2009, despite a change to the company’s corporate cellphone policy that only reimburses service fees for employees using Windows-powered phones.
In one particular meeting among Microsoft executives, Andy Lees, a Microsoft senior vice president who oversees development of the mobile-phone software business, and his boss, Robbie Bach, explained that employees often use rival products like the iPhone to better understand the competition, but were rebuffed by COO Kevin Turner, who said, “[w]hat’s good for the field is good for Redmond.” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer took a similar stance, saying that his family always drove Fords, as his father worked for Ford Motor Company. Still, some Microsoft employees choose to use iPhones, even if they need to disguise their handsets, or keep them hidden around senior executives.
“Maybe once a year I’m in a meeting with Steve Ballmer,” said one employee. “It doesn’t matter who’s calling, I’m not answering my phone.”.