Steven Sinofsky no longer works at Microsoft, so it should not be a huge shock to learn that he might be using products made by companies other that his former employer. A couple of days ago, he posted this note on his Twitter account:
@albertjelica Sure I use an iphone at times. I have a Samsung too that i use.I want to be familiar with the work of all companies.
Sinofsky later expanded his viewpoints in a new post on his Learning by Shipping blog. He states
Moving beyond the gotcha blogs, there’s an actual reason for using technology products and services other than the ones you make (or happen to be made by the company where you work/ed). I think everyone knows that, even a thousand tweets later. The approach in many industries to downplay or even become hostile to the competition are well-documented and studied, and generally conclude that experiencing the competition is a good thing.
The rest of the blog talks about how a company should use a product from the competition. Sinofsky says that all members of a team must examine what other companies are doing in their field and use their products extensively, over a period of days and even weeks. He also believes that team members should use these products the way the competition has designed them to work, rather than modify them.
Sinofsky says that companies can even learn about their own products from the eyes of the competitor. Sinofsky states:
I remember once writing a whole “press kit” for what became Visual C++ as though I were the Borland C++ team. It was great fun. Rather than focus on Windows (3.0!) development, I focused on compiler speed, code size, array of command line options, and more. Those were the things that Borland would focus on. I then ripped into Visual C++ as a Borland person, highlighting what options were missing, the slowness of the tools, and so on. Even though VC++ 1.0 had a Windows dev environment, resource editor, class library and more—all assets relative to Borland.
Source: Learning by Shipping