Mar 152010

Perhaps one of the strongest indicators of the success of a product is how much the competition uses it.

The Wall Street Journal recently carried an interesting piece substantiating the fact where it noted the heavy usage of iPhones among Microsoft employees.

In the article, author Nick Wingfield notes that in the past one year, close to 10,000 Microsoft employees had accessed the company’s employee email system via an iPhone. This equals 10% of Microsoft’s global workforce. Redmond also has some high profile iPhone users on its rolls. J Allard; Microsoft’s chief experience officer for the entertainment and devices division who is popular for his contributions towards the creation of the Xbox gaming console is known to be an avid iPhone user. Wingfield’s report points out that iPhone users are pretty conspicuous in the cafeterias, lobbies and conference rooms of Microsoft’s Seattle campus.

The widespread use of a rival platform has generated a lot of debate among Microsoft executives who see the trend not particularly helping the company, especially at a time when Microsoft is working to launch an improved mobile OS that can take on the likes of iPhone OS and Android.

While some executives see the use of an iPhone as a necessity to help employees study rival product features better, others like Kevin Turner, the COO at Microsoft disagree. In a clear signal of displeasure over the increasing use of iPhones, Microsoft modified its cellphone policy early last year to let only those employees using phones that run on Windows Phone to be eligible for reimbursement of service fees. While Redmond described this as merely a cost-cutting measure, observers note that the increasing use of iPhones among employees is a major factor behind the modification of the company’s cellphone policy.

With Microsoft’s much talked about Windows Phone 7 mobile OS launching in the latter half of this year, Microsoft would be hoping for the new platform to motivate iPhone lovers in the Redmond campus to finally let go of their iDevice. We wonder if that will ever happen. What do you think?

[via The Wall Street Journal ]


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