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Microsoft Employees Love Their iPhones

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the can-I-expense-this? dept.

Microsoft 366

portscan writes "There is an entertaining and telling article in the Wall Street Journal about iPhone use by Microsoft employees. Apparently, despite it being frowned upon by senior management, iPhone use is rampant among the Redmond rank and file. The head of Microsoft's mobile division tried to explain it away as employees wanting 'to better understand the competition,' although few believe this. Nowhere does the article mention attempts by the company to understand why the iPhone is more attractive to much of Microsoft's tech-savvy workforce than the company's own products."

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I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Funny)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475082)

I have a love/hate relationship with my iPhone. My preciousss. It's pretty and seductive, but it locks me out of stuff. For just about everything, there's an app for that, except for when Apple pulled it. It can do just about everything, but not when Apple or AT&T says it can't, like tethering. But for all it makes me crazy, I still can't seem to pause in the middle of the day without pulling it from its holster and stroking its sleek, responsive, beautiful face for a few minutes.

Damn this stupid phone. I really should throw it back into the depths of Cupertino from whence it came, but you'd probably have to gnaw my hand off to get me to drop it.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Funny)

DogDude (805747) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475114)

It sounds like you have a problem. Might want to see professional help. It's just a chunk of metal and plastic.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475272)

Whoosh.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475274)

Uh it's a joke...

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Insightful)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475170)

Lack of tethering is not Apple's fault.
It works here very nicely, without any tricks or hacks.

I don't use a lot of apps (or games) - but the ability to choose e.g. between several different weather-apps is very comforting.

The iPhone is really the ultimate phone IMO - you can make it look and behave exactly as you want (within it's very wide limits).
At least, it's a progress in comparison to exchangeable covers, custom ringtones and background-images.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475214)

The iPhone is really the ultimate phone IMO - you can make it look and behave exactly as you want (within it's very wide limits).

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call an Apple fanboy. Not so subtle one, either.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475228)

Yes, Apple supports tethering in the iPhone, but AT&T requires them to disallow you from using it. It was a similar deal with VoIP, which was blocked over 3G until recently. It raises the question in my mind: how much of the iPhone lock-down (only allowed to install apps from the iTunes store) is caused by Apple wanting a cut of everything, and how much is caused by contractual obligations to AT&T for preventing certain kinds of apps.

Either way, obviously iPhones would be way better if Apple didn't restrict development and distribution of 3rd party apps.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Insightful)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475294)

Either way, obviously iPhones would be way better if Apple didn't restrict development and distribution of 3rd party apps.

Well, it's not so obvious IMO.
But that really depends on what "better" means for you.
I'm glad that Apple strictly controls what goes into the App-store, because I have no time at all to do a line-by-line source-code audit of every god-damn silly app I download. I'm glad Apple does this for me, for the 30% of the price that probably the seller would pocket anyway (without the benefits for the end-user)

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1)

PIBM (588930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475458)

Looking at the content VS preventing a rooting of your phone is 2 different things. I'd be happy if they just did the later. Anyway, I don't own one myself (but I support ipods/iphones as a platform for my tools)

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475794)

It's one thing for them to provide a store/repository of known-good software. It's another to prevent you from going outside of that store if you choose to.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (4, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475820)

Apple should have a right to keep their store the way they want, and reject any app the want.

On the other hand, I should have a right to run any program I want on my hardware.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Interesting)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475856)

Apple should have a right to keep their store the way they want, and reject any app the want.

On the other hand, I should have a right to run any program I want on my hardware.

I agree. But all the spam that I get and that we as an ISP have to fend-off or process is from the 99.9999% of morons in front of a PC that think exactly the same and download and install any crap-trojan that comes their way and poses as a screensaver or fake anti-virus.
At least, we don't get spam from iPhones. That alone makes Apple's decision worth the hassle!

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Insightful)

Pootie Tang (414915) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475836)

Maybe I don't follow this well enough to know, but I don't think Apple is doing an audit, much less line-by-line. Seems to me they just react after the fact. From what I understand they recently pulled some apps related to wifi for using undocumented APIs. If they pulled it after they fact they didn't audit the source in the first place, not even using some automated tool on the binary.

I don't have an iphone, just an ipod touch. But I don't get the impression they strictly control the app-store. They certainly impose their own restrictions, but I don't feel like it's for my benefit so I only get quality apps.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Insightful)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475912)

So for people like you, there's the app store. That doesn't diminish the value of having fewer restrictions for other people.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1, Interesting)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475304)

Either way, obviously iPhones would be way better if Apple didn't restrict development and distribution of 3rd party apps.

It probably wouldn't be where it is today if Apple didn't "restrict development and distribution of 3rd party apps." The app store is a hobby programmer's greatest dream. Apple makes everything nice & easy for the hobby programmer, which has resulted in hundreds of thousands of apps available for the iPhone in a timeframe unheard of by other phone providers.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475408)

I suspect a lot of that development has also been fueled by "get rich quick" dreams, which has obviously only come to reality for a small number of developers. Okay if you're a hobbyist, but not a great return on investment for anyone looking for more than that.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475828)

I have no problem with them offering the iTunes App store, and in fact think that the cut they take doesn't seem too high.

But what if I want a native app for Google Voice? What if I want Google Voice to essentially replace my Voicemail and SMS buttons with a Google version that lets me use SMS for free? What if I want to use Opera on my iPhone? They're developing an application, but it will most likely be rejected. What if I want to alter my home screen? (e.g. Winterboard) Apple won't let me run those applications, even though they've been developed.

And what of all the developers who won't bother to even write an application because they're dreading the possibility of being rejected and having all their work being useless?

I like the iPhone and I like the iTunes store. I just think we'd see even more apps and better apps if Apple didn't keep such an iron fist over distribution.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Insightful)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475914)

The app store is a hobby programmer's greatest dream. Apple makes everything nice & easy for the hobby programmer,

Completely agree. Nice and easy. Unless you:

* don't have an extra $100/yr to spend on a membership fee
* don't have a Mac
* want to write apps that do a better job than Apple's built-in apps
* want your apps to be able to run tasks in the background
* want your apps to be able to download, save and play back locally-stored media
* want to write apps that contain a plugin system or language interpreter
* want to write free (as in speech) software

But other than that, yeah, a hobby programmer's dream.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1, Informative)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475660)

It was a similar deal with VoIP, which was blocked over 3G until recently.

AT&T didn't block VoIP over 3G. They told Apple to disallow VoIP apps over the 3G network.

It raises the question in my mind: how much of the iPhone lock-down (only allowed to install apps from the iTunes store) is caused by Apple wanting a cut of everything, and how much is caused by contractual obligations to AT&T for preventing certain kinds of apps.

The iPod Touch runs the same software with no restrictions.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (4, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475672)

The iPod Touch runs the same software with no restrictions.

Correction: the iPod Touch runs the same software with the same restrictions

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (0, Redundant)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475258)

yes it is apples fault because they went with At&t in the first place. fail.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1)

Squozen (301710) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475488)

Who else could they go with? Verizon apparently turned them down, and the only other GSM carrier in the US in any case is T-Mobile. You think T-Mobile would magically be better than AT&T? Really?

Btw, tethering works great on my iPhone on Vodafone in Australia.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Insightful)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475618)

Not to mention Verizon was (is?) rather famous for locking features down.

Two 'identical' phones on Verizon & AT&T would have Bluetooth turned off on Verizon so you had to send files through their '$1/picture' service.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475300)

Of course lack of tethering is Apple's fault. The machine is perfectly capable of tethering, and it does so in many markets. But Apple kowtowed to AT&T's request to block it in the U.S. They willingly provided AT&T with the kill-switch, even though I'm the paying customer.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475468)

Actually, you're the product they're selling to AT&T. Or didn't you get the memo?

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (5, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475486)

I don't use a lot of apps (or games) - but the ability to choose e.g. between several different weather-apps is very comforting.

All of them are deficient: None lets you set the weather.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475756)

(within it's very wide limits).

"It's" vs. "its"... there's an app for that.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (-1, Troll)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475182)

It's pretty and seductive, but it locks me out of stuff.

And FOSS zealots wonder why it still isn't The Year of Linux on the Desktop, even if its free and open and all.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475246)

"open" pretty much accurately describes WinDOS.

If we were talking about a Windows PC or even a Mac, a lot of these frustrations
would be (relatively) easily solved by just applying the right bit of 3rd party
software.

VLC can be pretty handy on all platforms in this regard.

The lack of something similar for the iPhone is an obvious point of iPhone disillusionment.

Also, it would be nice if iTunes told you why it rejected a video when it does so. Mystery is not terribly user friendly in this case.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475704)

VLC can be pretty handy on all platforms in this regard.

The lack of something similar for the iPhone is an obvious point of iPhone disillusionment.

For you...

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475342)

IMO, they items they lock out are just not important to the average Joe. To geeks and some business users, yes some apps are important, like WiFi Scanners, Tethering, Google Voice, Jiggly Tits [chillifresh.com] (ok, granted, that one may have a wider appeal), but for the average user, they get what they need from the app store.

I have a good friend who went with the droid. He loves Apple Mac, but hated the restrictions on the iPhone. All he did after that was complain that it was hard to get it working properly, just the way he wanted it. When I suggested an iPhone so he didn't have to mess with such things, you'd think I suggested taking his porn collection away ;)

The droid is great for Apple customers, as it's forcing Apple to expand into areas where it's weak, and that's always a good thing. The rumored multi-tasking in 4.0 [appleinsider.com] should make some iPhone owners very happy. Personally I don't have much need for it, but the forums are jumping with anticipation over the rumored release.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (2, Funny)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475344)

I feel your pain. The only way to rid yourself of the precious and free your soul is to throw your iphone into a volcano. Do you happen live near an active volcano? Until then, whatever you do, don't slide to unlock! It will steal your soul!

Jailbreaking fixes many of the iPhone's limitation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475412)

This is why I am less and less happy about Apple's desire to end jailbreaking.
Opening up the iPhone allows me to be liberated from some of Apple's control-fetish annoyances.

  • Turn off rotation and other features from the main page (SBSettings)
  • Google Voice (installed before Google made their own webApp version)
  • hide unwanted and uninstallable apps (e.g., stocks)
  • Increase the number of icons per row
  • put eBooks on your Kindle app w/o buying them from AMZN (AMZN has no email account for non-Kindle device owners, and I get eBooks from my library)
  • VoIP app (prior to Apple opening up VOIP apps and mine, SIAX, still hasn't migrated to iTunes, allows any SIP account)
  • 5-row QWERTY keyboard

Admittedly nothing that is "a deal breaker", but it does allow you to fix a few issues that just make the iPhone work "better", based upon your (not Jobs') definition of better.

Re:Jailbreaking fixes many of the iPhone's limitat (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475592)

I agree. My iPhone would be much less useful to me without jailbreaking, and would limit its usefulness. Besides the points you made, I can do other things thanks to jailbreaking, like:

* Multitask
* Run WiFi only apps over 3G
* Run any non-approved applications I want
* Use multiple ActiveSync accounts (ie Work Exchange and Gmail)
* Use the iPhone as a storage device

Like you said, they might not be dealbreakers, and I understand the reason Apple doesn't want me to do some of them, but jailbreaking would be sorely missed.

It's too bad Apple can't just make a "no warranties, do at your own risk" official jailbreak for advanced users. I'll gladly take the risk, and I'm sure most users wouldn't even be aware of it.

How did I forget multitasking?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475770)

Thank you
Christ I can't believe I forgot multi-tasking! I use that everytime I turn my phone on.

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1)

YayaY (837729) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475616)

If I was Microsoft, I would worry about corporate espionage.

Hundreds of iPhones walking around = hundreds of remotely activated microphone and camera at the R&D facility!

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475778)

Hundreds of iPhones walking around = hundreds of remotely activated microphone and camera at the R&D facility!

oh, because Apple has so much to learn from Microsoft. They'll just be all over that I'm sure. MS is so known for innovation, whereas Apple...

Re:I loves and hateses my Preciousss (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475694)

It's a pretty slick entertainment device, but absolutely sucks as a business phone. I've been given one by the office, to replace my paid-for-by-myself unlocked Nokia E61. I keep dropping calls because I inadvertently press the end call big huge button that's right where I pick up the phone, I can't snooze meeting reminders so keep missing meetings, the touch keyboard sucks so much I gave up typing SMS's and emails on it, the silent button keeps being activated when I take it out of my pocket, and don't get me started on the locked down platform. To stop music play when I use the iPod takes a number of clicks, whereas with my standalone iPod it's one click. I honestly don't understand why people like it. Ok. I'm lying - I saw "Idiocracy", so I know exactly why people like it ;).

Duh (1, Flamebait)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475094)

Can we tag that "duh"? I mean, if anyone knows the quality of MS Mobile phones, it's the people making them. So do they use them?

Well, duh.

Re:Duh (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475200)

He's right ... and I'm an iPhone user. It's a great phone (except for the times when it locks up or stutters or otherwise pisses me off), but when compared to the current offerings from MS it's really no contest. The same could be said for the Androids and other 'smart phones' vs. the current MS offerings.

I'm sure that MS's 7 Phone (or whatever it's really called) will bring it up to today's standards & expectations ... and into consideration of the business and consumer markets. Until then MS is just passing time in the phone market.

Re:Duh (1)

haruharaharu (443975) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475932)

Funny, from what I've heard, winmo7 would be groundbreaking 3 years ago, but today is sort of underwhelming. Makes you wonder how much MS could do if they didn't saddle their divisions with MS mgmt.

Re:Duh (1)

Arimus (198136) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475220)

iPhones are made by Apple (well atleast soley for Apple and under strict contracts to Apple) , most Windows phones tend to by made by companies who don't care about MS's image and so produce any old shit they can rustle up.

Having used both Apple phones and MS phones, personally though I'd rather go back to having a decent phone (IE good at calls and sms at a pinch), decent pda (email, organiser, some apps) and a decent media player - failure of 1 just loses me that bit of functionality - smart phone dies and all 3 die - apart from that I frequently turn my mobile off (or ahem, forget? it) when I'm working on a problem but still stick my headphones in (more to drown out the rest of the world than listen to the music).

Re:Duh (-1, Troll)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475690)

Having used both Apple phones and MS phones, personally though I'd rather go back to having a decent phone (IE good at calls and sms at a pinch), decent pda (email, organiser, some apps) and a decent media player.

Haven't you basically just described an iPhone (try 'Airplane Mode' when you're working on a problem). Most criticisms come from people who were hoping for a portable general-purpose computer, but if you see it as a pretty decent phone and SMS client, a PDA with the option for (quite a lot of) PDA-type apps, plus a decent media player, the lockdown and limitations begin to make sense.

Re:Duh (1, Interesting)

mickwd (196449) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475742)

"most Windows phones tend to by made by companies who don't care about MS's image and so produce any old shit they can rustle up."

Bollocks.

You think they don't care about their own company's image?

Companies like HTC have been doing their best to get away from the shittiness that is Windows Mobile. But without having their own operating systems, they're a bit limited, so they don't want to piss off Microsoft too much. Apart from going with Google and Android, they've tried writing their own GUI to hide the poor Windows UI, but they can't really do anything about the basic bugginess of the OS.

Says a lot about the two companies that Apple can get it right virtually first time, while Windows Mobile is on releases 6.5 and 7, and Microsoft is still struggling to make it acceptable.

Re:Duh (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475268)

If you had spent 8 hours straight working on these devices' software/hardware etc. would you want to play with them in your free time? I'd imagine that a lot of MS's staff would very much prefer to keep work at work and Zunes etc. out of their free time.

iPhones work beautifully with Exchange. (1, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475128)

Better in some ways than Windows Mobile phones.

This really shouldn't be surprising.

Same thing with iPods (4, Informative)

Miandrital (1029138) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475146)

I remember this same story came out about how a growing number of MS employees were using ipods, and apparently it was frowned upon, so they started switching the white headphones for regular ones. Link: http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/commentary/cultofmac/2005/02/66460 [wired.com]

Re:Same thing with iPods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475392)

Story next year: Microsoft Employees Love their iPads

Re:Same thing with iPods (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475474)

a growing number of MS employees were using ipods, and apparently it was frowned upon, so they started switching the white headphones for regular ones.

Is there an app to make your iPhone look like an MS phone? The "Monkey Dance Chair App" or something like that?
     

I worked in a mobile apps company for 7 years (2, Interesting)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475206)

And I can't think of any employee, at any time, who used a Windows Mobile handset for one second longer than was contractually required. It looks like they're finally getting the idea with the newest version that mobiles are not just small desktops, but all they've done is caught on to what everyone else figured out 10 years ago.

Victory against monoculture (5, Insightful)

HumanEmulator (1062440) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475234)

I wonder how many Apple employees use Microsoft Office. Or Microsoft employees search with Google. Why are people so intent on declaring one product the winner that everybody should use? Did it benefit Microsoft to switch Hotmail to MS IIS before IIS was ready to handle a site of that scale? This isn't a failure for Microsoft's phone efforts as much as it is a victory against Microsoft's mono-culture mindset.

Re:Victory against monoculture (0, Redundant)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475324)

mono culture is good at times. look at the desktop market, you can't tell me there isn't benefits in having a monoculutre there - it allows users to have one familar gui.

Re:Victory against monoculture (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475548)

Users could have one familiar GUI if there were 10,000 desktop options on the market.

They'd just have to choose one and stick with it.

Re:Victory against monoculture (0)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475940)

so what happens when they move from work to home or change jobs, suddenly they have an unfamilar gui.

Re:Victory against monoculture (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475476)

Eating their own dog food.

Apple employees probably use Pages, Keynote and the rest of the iWork suite because they're quite good pieces of software. Microsoft probably doesn't have a raft of people who are using Open Office or Pages because well, even for Mac, Office v.x is pretty slick. Microsoft employees also probably are Xbox fans, by and large.

Mono-culture is one thing, being able to swallow your own dog food is another. Monocultures work when the products you sell are actually good. :) When you have to ENFORCE your monoculture, you're clearly doing something wrong in the market.

Re:Victory against monoculture (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475558)

Consumers will be consumers. Apple employees own Xbox 360s and have Windows partitions for gaming too.

Re:Victory against monoculture (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475578)

Actually this is typical Microsoft, they obsess with the chief competitor before they attack. There are anecdotes that Redmond was awash in books on Java in the late '90s. Then came .NET 1.0, where the biggest difference with Sun's product seemed to be that LeadingCamelCase was the convention for method names instead of lowerCamelCase.

As Ballmer mentioned in his quote in TFA, Detroit was/is just the opposite. Apparently even when traveling executives were supposed to rent cars from the home brand, though you'd think that would be a useful occasion to familiarize themselves with the competition.

Duh (2, Insightful)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475238)

It works with Exchange. Microsoft is not going to run a BES. And Android is the one eating their lunch.

Nice contradiction... (4, Interesting)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475280)

So Microsoft says they believe it helps them to understand the competition, but the submitter simply says "nobody believes this" and then faults microsoft for not "trying to understand the competition"? Did people actually stop reading their own submissions?

Redmond rage (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475282)

Apparently, despite it being frowned upon by senior management, iPhone use is rampant among the Redmond rank and file.

Need to practice ducking airborne chairs? There's an app for that!

Re:Redmond rage (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475588)

Eat a bowel of sliced roasted dicks.

I don't understand (2, Funny)

OrwellianLurker (1739950) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475308)

I don't understand how a company as huge and powerful as Microsoft can't release a good competitor for the iPhone. I have a Zune, and the hardware is quite nice, but the software is horrible and has given me a BSOD on three separate computers (with different versions of Windows).

Re:I don't understand (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475356)

i've known people who have interened at MS. only the smartest engineers work there and they treat their people really well. however, they have a large and powerful marketing team that management listen to, and there in lies the fail.

Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (4, Insightful)

Rocky (56404) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475360)

If they do, then there's a real issue there.

If not, it's the employees money to do with what they please. Upper management needs to STFU.

Re:Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475386)

I actually bought my girlfriend a windows phone. That thing was such a POS you could not force me to use it.

Re:Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475614)

Well, yes, but it really makes the company ( and by inference the employees who work on mobile phones) look bad. Given the choice between what the company has done and apple they choose the competition. Why one earth would anyone outside the company buy a windows phone?

Re:Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475720)

Posting anon for obvious reasons.

If you buy a Windows Mobile phone at MS you can claim the cost of the phone back on expenses, but it's a small PITA to do. Even so, you don't get the celluar costs paid for, Windows Mobile or not, unless you're in sales, so considering I'm paying every month why on earth does anyone think management have a right to say what my money goes on? And that's where the article is wrong - no-one actually gives a shit, beyond Ballmer's grandstanding, and of course the WM team who should be expected to use their own phones. Heck if you don't believe the company meeting stunt was Ballmer was just that then you're an idiot.

Maybe Windows Phone 7 will turn that around, god knows I love and hate my iPhone in equal proportion.

Re:Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475766)

For those that RTFA, it states that MS only reimburses service charges for phones that us MS software. This would tend to indicate that at least some people pay extra to use Apple hardware.

Also, according to the article, the use at MS is hardly rampant. It reports market penetration in general for iPhone is 25%, but penetration at MS is only 10%.

Re:Do they get the Microsoft products for free? (4, Interesting)

McBeer (714119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475792)

Do they get the Microsoft products for free? If they do, then there's a real issue there.

If not, it's the employees money to do with what they please. Upper management needs to STFU.

MS employees don't get anything free. They get steep discounts on MS software (85% or so off), but only a small discount on on hardware. I have, on occasion, seen xboxes for sale commercially for less then in the employee store. I did a year long contract for MS in the mobile division and I never heard of upper management discouraging iPhone use. The FTEs on my team used a wide range of mobile devices and I think it really helped to broaden people's horizons. I think management understood that. That said, MS is a very large creature and I saw only a little corner of it.

Obsessesion (5, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475362)

The Apple culture is about obsession. This goes from creation to use. Despite any flaws the iPhone it has, it feels likes someone actually thought how non-engineers would use it. This is an important factor IMHO, because even with the 'wow' factor, a device will only work if people can find it usable. Too many gadgets, IMHO, are designed by engineers and almost feel like the primary user was an engineer. To many people the "it just works" element is as important as any of the features that the device it may include.

There are other companies who have understood the people factor, but all to often it doesn't feel like it is running through the veins of the companies.

Looking at Microsoft, I feel that they are confused about what it means be user friendly. There are elements of the company who seem to get it, while there are other parts that thinks bells and whistles are what user friendly is about. For me being user friendly is something a little complex, it is that right balance of simplicity and richness of functionality. Hiding features or dumbing down an application is not going to magically solve the problem, if the humans factor is forgotten in the process.

The irony in all this is that Apple spends less on R&D than Microsoft, yet whether it is through focused R&D or some other factor I feel they seem to capture the magic combination better. Maybe there is something to be said of having a company run by a guy who is so obsessive that his passion captivates people, rather than alienating them - yes, I am insinuating that Balmer's passion at developer conferences is more an after thought than something that drives the company in a cohesive way.

Re:Obsessesion (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475402)

You do realize that Steve Jobs middle name is Obsession? Tis the path to madness! ... and great riches.

Re:Obsessesion (1)

danlip (737336) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475668)

But Microsoft created Bob and Clippy. How can you say they are not user friendly?

but it doesn't "just work" (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475716)

Yes, Apple pays a bit more attention to user-friendliness than Microsoft. Mostly, though, they are paying a lot of attention to a good unboxing experience and fun. Apple also focuses their efforts on specific markets and demographics while Microsoft wants it all.

But people should stop saying that "it just works". Apple products often don't "just work"; just go look at the Apple support forums and do some web searches. Nobody has managed to make computer systems or software of any significant complexity that "just works".

Re:Obsessesion (1)

uglyduckling (103926) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475726)

Yup, that hits the nail on the head. I've just helped my parents buy their first MacBook having previously had a Windows XP laptop. I've noticed that when they can't figure out how to do something and get me to show them, when they see the solution on the Mac they say "ahh... clever! that's how it works". On Windows XP, when I showed them something or they finally figured it out for themselves, they would tend to say "damn, I've been looking for that for hours, how stupid!".

Re:Obsessesion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475870)

As an engineer I would love to find products designed for engineers. Where are they? I haven't been able to find them. I am sure Linux driver developers would love to find them too. With the exception of products marketed specifically towards engineers -- like compilers and other engineering tools -- mainstream products are designed for typical users. I would love to find a scanner that came with protocol design documentation, FPGA or firmware code and the source code to the driver. If this exists it was an extra afterthought and not part of designing for an engineer.

There are plenty of products with design flaws, but these are equally problematic for engineers and other users.

amateurs (1, Troll)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475364)

Better weaselly PR explanation: "Microsoft employees enjoy the iphone because it is a platform for the exciting apps Microsoft has developed."

Windows Mobile 7 is not yet out. (1)

tronbradia (961235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475372)

In their defense, they are in the midst of overhauling their mobile platform, and Windows Mobile 7 looks like it is going to be very awesome. Maybe this just shows how young I am, but I think this Gizmodo article [gizmodo.com] might just be the most gushing preview of a Microsoft product I've ever seen from an independent source.

Also guys, "News for nerds, stuff that matters"? I think this is two of those words at best. But here I am commenting. Oh sigh...

Re:Windows Mobile 7 is not yet out. (3, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475514)

Windows Mobile 7 is going to have to be really good to make up for the crap I dealt with on my last Windows based phone. Sure it looks like they've improved the god awful interface but if it's just as buggy and still under performs like my Orange SPV M3100 did then it won't have a chance imo.

We'll see how well they do but until people start using it on a day-to-day basis and feedback positively I'm not going to take anyone's opinion on it seriously.

I'm still not entirely sold on the interface. It is much slicker and isn't trying to replicate Windows on a phone but why can't they just make something that fits the screen rather than making it almost certain I'll have to scroll left and right to find everything and what is the point of making a heading to a section, like People, so big that it's guaranteed not to fit on the screen ever? Again, it looks nice but I can see that getting annoying over time and it reeks of being a lazy solution to making things look nice on various screen resolutions.

Re:Windows Mobile 7 is not yet out. (1)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475536)

If you are going to be a fan, at least get the name right: Windows Phone 7 Series.

Making a good product isn't good enough for Microsoft. It has to be an amazing product that is heavily marketed to seriously affect Apple and Google's momentum. It has to be something that once people see it, they want it.

cf the Zune. Every review I have read, is positive. Anybody who has one, generally speaks quite well of it. Yet it still hasn't pulled much market share from the iPod.

The big wildcard in this though, is Apple and their bad behavior. If Apple pisses off enough developers other platforms benefit. Unfortunately for Microsoft, I suspect Android will be gain more developers than Microsoft. A big part of making an amazing product comes from third parties.

Microsoft can't succeed (1, Insightful)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475818)

No matter how good Windows Mobile 7 itself may be, the fundamental problem with Windows Mobile 7 is that it is still tied to other Microsoft products, and Microsoft's other products often suck. You just know that if you're going to try to use it Google Apps, Mac, Linux, Firefox, or iTunes, there's going to be tons of problems.

They're probably going to use it to try to push Windows Live, Bing, Bing Maps, Xbox, Zune, Office, and all the other crap they are selling. And while you may use and like some of that, I don't know anybody who really likes everything Microsoft makes.

And Microsoft can't escape that trap. The Mobile division would be fired if they tried to give people what they actually wanted: Gmail, iTunes, Google Maps, PS3, etc.

And the things they have optimized for Windows Mobile 7 are not necessarily the ones I care about. "Bright superflat squares that fill the screen"? A good mobile phone interface is not primarily about the best graphic design, it's about a lot of other things.

I don't think it's possible for Microsoft to produce a good mobile phone given the way the company operates.

Of course, in many ways, Apple is just as proprietary and annoying. But unlike Microsoft, Apple is happy with a few percent market share. And Apple doesn't have as much crap to tie into, so despite Jobs's control-freakishness, the iPhone still ends up being more open.

But I'm not sure WM7 is for them (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475964)

In their defense, they are in the midst of overhauling their mobile platform, and Windows Mobile 7 looks like it is going to be very awesome.

It looks interesting, BUT it's not a replacement for Windows Mobile 6.5 - now dubbed Classic. Windows Mobile 7 is more for consumers but business people presumably would be told to continue using Classic.

Although if it has exchange integration that could be enough.

I'm not sure how some of the design choices they made will play out in real life, it will be interesting to see the final product.

iPhone mania (0, Troll)

Watertowers (1061714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475410)

So do MS think they can copy it or are they just trying to extract all the ip they can. I doubt they will be able to buy Apple which is there normal path to "creating" new technologies.

Re:iPhone mania (2, Insightful)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475564)

You mean, like they bought Sony or Nintendo instead of coming out with their own game console?

Re:iPhone mania (1)

Watertowers (1061714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475692)

Look at the history of MS and most things they have "created" that was any good was purchased technology. MS spends so much on R&D and yet what have they really created that is worth anything? Windows was not their invention, DOS was not their invention. XBox is about the only thing I can think of that they created that people liked and yet the product was plagued with problems from the time of release, like everything they have actually created, and in the end nintendo was soooo much better. At least Apple when they release a product it more often than not is a true innovation and was created not purchased and it works. I am not a fan of Apple, their products are too limited for the purchase price but they do integrate very well, something MS does not do well.

Re:iPhone mania (1)

pydev (1683904) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475826)

So do MS think they can copy it or are they just trying to extract all the ip they can

Since Apple copied most of the iPhone's technologies from others, I really don't see what's wrong with Microsoft copying the iPhone.

Re:iPhone mania (1)

Watertowers (1061714) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475906)

Didn't say there was anything wrong with copying the technology. I actually think the whole idea of software patents is plain stupid. I just don't like it when companies claim to be innovators when they are not. As for a MS version of iPhone, I am guessing they would lock the phone as much as Apple so I wouldn't be interested. I am sure there are plenty of people that would though. One of the things that is most desirable for business users is tight integration with MS Exchange and I would expect a MS phone to provide this.

It's About Time! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475440)

Microsoft has a tech-savvy workforce! It's about time.

That's funny (2, Insightful)

Aurisor (932566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475504)

That's funny, you'd expect a lot of them would be using that really popular windows mobile phone, you know, the....err....wait, don't tell me...hmmm

They love the DRM? (1)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475516)

MS software does have the better product from an email, business integration, flash software and hardware tech choice side.
On paper MS wins it all, as always.
I guess within MS the staff are really in awe of the closed garden feel.
The idea that one corp can pass/fail apps, remove apps, kill hardware ideas eg tethering and scale total control up to larger devices.
To your average MS worker its like holding their future before bringing the MS real world productivity to a locked down candy gui toy.

Macs at Home (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475530)

I'm not surprised. I have had to call MS tech support. As we wait for the computer to work I ask them what they use at HOME. Many of the Microsoft Windows technicians use Macintosh computers at home and confide that they only work on MS for the money. Imagine that. For the money they sell their souls!?! :) Oops, and there I was getting support for a MS product. I plead insanity.

Re:Macs at Home (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475942)

I'm not surprised. Fixing Windows is a lucrative gig, Macs less so because they simply don't break as much. I used to switch hit at my company, and did quite a bit of Mac work when I started there in early 2001.

Since then, as OS X replaced the classic Mac OS and as it has matured, the need for me to put on my Mac Support hat has waned considerably. That's a real shame, because I find fixing them to be interesting work, whereas the Windows support I do is soul-sucking drudgery. There's seldom an interesting problem to chase down and root out, most of the time it's either running anti-malware utilities, reinstalling, or reimaging/restoring from backup.

Why is this news? (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475534)

I don't work in a business directly linked to mobile phones but I do work in the telecoms industry for a company that does produce VoIP clients for mobile phones, as well as business telephony servers.

In my experience, Windows is currently in a decline as an OS for mobile phones, it now all seems to be Blackberry, iPhone, Android & Symbian...

Sure, it may well be that Windows Mobile 7 means it will pick up for Microsoft at some point in the future but presumably a lot of people who work in Microsoft are gadget freaks like the rest of us & want to buy the latest gizmos... that means gizmos that probably don't run Windows Mobile at this moment in time.

I just don't see that there's anything amazing to report here - if anything, MS employees are used to working with locked down operating systems & hardware, therefore iPhone would be second nature to them...

Aah! That explains it... (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475574)

So, Windows Vista was developed by "engineers" who like the shiny - no, you can't do that - apple phone. Now I get it...

I am actually an iphone developer right now (not exactly my choice, our CEO thought it was a good idea), and I can't see how any real get overpriced fashion accessory.

Don't tell me there are no geek oriented devices, let any decent geek spend an hour with something like the N900, and observe the results! (mainly because, well, yes, it will run linux)

Something got cut... (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475656)

The second line should read:
I am actually an iphone developer right now (not exactly my choice, our CEO thought it was a good idea), and I can't see how any real geek would like the overpriced fashion accessory.

PS. To make it clear, I do like the platform as a developer - Obj-C and the sdk are nice and I can do the things Apple will let me nice and fast. My problem is how much it limits me as a user.

Lighten up, Microsoft (0, Offtopic)

postmortem (906676) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475636)

Now your employees can like other phones: Android phones!

Microsoft Phone? (2, Insightful)

Straterra (1045994) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475698)

It doesn't really seem like a fair comparison to me. Microsoft doesn't make phones, they make software. This isn't really news at all, just more "We found a trend at Microsoft, lets post a news article about it!" crud. Call me when Microsoft makes a phone that most Microsoft employees refuse to use, then I might consider it newsworthy.

Slashdot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31475702)

News for nerds. Stuff that matters.
iPhone does not matter.

Believe it or not, Microsoft is a pretty tolerant (5, Interesting)

melted (227442) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475738)

Believe it or not, Microsoft is a pretty tolerant company on the inside. You're not required to drink the kool-aid, and using non-Microosft products and services is not frowned upon. Almost everyone (at least in Redmond) uses Google for search, for instance. A lot of smartphone users use iPhone. Some use Android even (even though corp discounts obviously don't apply to either iPhone or Android plans or phones). It is not uncommon to see a Mac running Mac OS X, even though the corp network doesn't really support it. I haven't seen any Linux use on laptops, but that's probably because ACPI support in Linux sucks ass.

There are folks who proudly drink the Kool-Aid, and refuse to use anything non-Microsoft, of course, but they're in minority.

Having worked elsewhere after Microsoft, I've gained a lot of respect for this aspect of Microsoft corporate culture that I had taken for granted. I think at least someone at Microsoft understands that Microsoft has a lot to learn from the rest of the world, and corporate inbreeding is its worst possible enemy.

Re:Believe it or not, Microsoft is a pretty tolera (1)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475918)

I haven't seen any Linux use on laptops, but that's probably because ACPI support in Linux sucks ass.

ACPI support in linux is near perfect. It's the ACPI support in the hardware that sucks ass.

Really surprising? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31475808)

That figure equals about 10% of the company's global work force.

is it really that surprising given the iphone's share of the smartphone market is, AFAIK, significantly more than that?

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