No more iPhone subsidies for Microsoft employees

Unmoved by independent market-analysis company Forrester Research's conclusion that "iPhone users are richer, younger, and perhaps even more productive at work than those who use competing smartphones," Microsoft has taken steps that have left some employees feeling more than a little perturbed.

Times are tough, even in Redmond. Microsoft has already made staff cuts, but it seems that that has not been enough to please the accountants, according to the Business Insider. Now Microsoft employees are being told they will no longer have their iPhone data service plans subsidised, even if those plans are mostly being used to conduct company business.

These changes also apply to any employee who uses a Blackberry or a Palm Pre. However, those who use Windows Mobile devices will still benefit from having their data plans reimbursed by Microsoft.

This is likely to strike many Microsoft employees as more than a bit unfair. Many rely on their plans to get vital work done for the company--and, if the company simply must cut data plan subsidies, they should, many would argue, cut them for everyone instead of just those who do not use Microsoft products.

(Interestingly, the only other exception here seems to apply to the people who work for Razorfish, Microsoft's advertising agency. They are allowed to keep their iPhone perks, but then this is probably not too surprising given Apple's strong and long-standing presence in the advertising and publishing industries.)

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EPIC FOUL! Microsoft trying to force corporate loyalty on its employees, when Windows Mobile-based cell phones are the worst you can get? In the world of business, it's the Blackberry that's the de facto standard, NOT Windows Mobile, although the iPhone is definitely making inroads in this field. If Microsoft were to clean up its act and dramatically improve its software (WM7 should be in this year, NOT in 2010 or 2011), then maybe its employees and everyone else may end up warming to Windows Mobile.

If they are subsidizing data plans (and not the phone) why does it matter which phone you are using? You either need it (and get your work done with it) or you don't.

winmo is a by far the best business OS, problem is it has an image problem due to it's crappy out of date GUI.
for now, i'm in the android camp until winmo comes back with a new UI, i'll then re-evaluate the situation. Given the rate of change with android, winmo7 is going to have to be very special to drag me away from the googleverse.

iPhone? don't make me laugh. Toy.

Quikboy said,
Apple employees would probably shun a worker if he/she used a Windows Mobile phone.

Apple is in fact using many Microsoft products. They just didn't tell you.

they should at least grandfather the current people in.. thats lame..

i could understand though on new activations..

While I apprecaite this news story the headline is greatly misleading - as the article clearly state MS stopped the subsidies for other smart phones.

This policy is likely more related to new cell phone usage rules promulgated by the IRS read here than any anti-competitive measure.

regardless, if you work at McDonald's you dont come walking in eating Subway or Burger King.

eth3l said,
This policy is likely more related to new cell phone usage rules promulgated by the IRS read here than any anti-competitive measure.


I don't think you read that article right. The IRS hasn't changed the rules yet, they are still seeking public comment on how the rules should be changed. In any case, any changes are meant to make it easier for companies to allow employees to mix business and personal use on their cell phones, not make it harder (which would be the only reason Microsoft would limit useage).

eth3l said,
regardless, if you work at McDonald's you dont come walking in eating Subway or Burger King.

say what?

so all Ford employees drive Fords?
all sony employees watch sony tvs?

:S

Um.. Probably, yeah, they do.. Discounts. :)

And he is right about the McD's.. A friend of mine works for a McD's and hes been told, no competitors product in the store.. Even in the staff room.. You will have to eat it there.. When i worked for Coke, it was the same deal.. If i wanna drink Pepsi, I do it on my own time.. This was 15 years ago, but the same rule applied.

Good lord people. Read the story.

The only thing this means is that Microsoft are going to stop paying for employee dataplans on non-WM smartphones.

Employees can keep using their BB/iPhones/Pre's if they want to, they'll just have to pay for it themselves like the rest of the world.

Does Apple even provide iPhones with paid service to employees?

I'd say my Blackberry is very unproductive! Why? Because I keep playing games and browsing the Net on it instead of working!!

OK I've been using Neowin for ages to keep upto date (along with many other sites) but I feel compelled to jump in register and comment on some of the things said here.

Yes it is preference based but I bet any WinMo device with a full Qwerty is 100% more productive than an iPhone! As Blackberry and Palm both have Qwerty's that agument doesn't hold. However, you can then state as it's WinMo it's preconfigured (as will there servers be) to utilise it properly thus making it more productive anyway.

IMO it makes sense for MS to do this for the following reasons
A)preconfigured same apps saves time ergo will save data allowance as things will be quicker
B) it's their own product you work for a company you should use their products as they endorse them, how bad would it look to any business if you can't even endorse your own stuff? "Hi I'm Steve Jobs here's my iPod Touch but I use a Blackberry because I prefer the keyboard", if I was being pitched by a company and they weren't using their own products it wouldn't fill me with confidence regardless of the outfit.

as for the comment
"daPhoenix said,
Well on the other hand if you came to Europe and you had a Blackberry, we'd laugh you out of the door."

Where in Europe??? I'm based in the UK and after spending the last 8 years working with clients such as JPM Chase, Citibank, EDS, Post Office, MOD, HM Prisons, DWP and many others, most people either have a WinMo or a Blackberry with the Blackberry coming out on top in the majority of cases.

I use a HTC Tytn II (can't wait to upgrade to Touch Pro 2 though) and have an iPod touch which I use daily, if I had a device that could do everything they could in one I'd be happy, I had an iPhone for 12 hours before taking it back to the shop (this was after owning my iPod touch for about 10 months) WinMo is better for pro uses as the majority of the UK business world uses MS and supports it natively ie Microsoft Exchange etc.

It seems that the story is dataplan based rather than phone based (although the author will have you believe otherwise).

Could it be that the carrier is to blame for this, and not the technology? I'm not sure on Blackberry and Palm in the USA, but could it be that Microsoft simply cannot negotiate rates that work for them on the network(s) that is available to users of these phones?

The data plan on AT&T for the iPhone costs exactly the same as the data plan for a WinMo phone. I know this for a fact because I have both on my account ( my LG Incite and my wife's iPhone).

I mean possibly AT&T as a company won't negotiate priceplans that are acceptable to Microsoft, and therefore the iPhone is ruled out as MS would have to use another operator. Are Blackberry and Palm open network in the USA? I'm speculating, but it seems a bit odd that Microsoft would block users subsidies just because of the OS - there must be some underlying price issue?

That is a bit of low blow, Windows Mobile is anything but productive. Let's face it Apple made a beatiful OS for the iPhone that is so easy to use you don't even need to think about it. Maybe WM7 changes this and brings WM back to the frontline but that is yet to be seen

Xerxes said,
...Windows Mobile is anything but productive...


Umm, No? The iPhone is the one that's NOT productive. As you said, "Apple made a beautiful OS", but beauty doesn't matter in a work place. It's called being utilitarian. Some people want to get things done, not look at flashy transitions. The iPhone is good for consumers, but not as good for businesses.

How so? I've used a WM phone and it's a mess at best, I waste more time just looking for what I want then actually doing something. Yet on the iPhone OS I'm able to get straight to where I need to go and get the job done.

It's a big cop-out. They should let their products speak for themselves, people would choose them over the competition, but instead they have to enforce it because a significant amount of people don't.

I have used an iPhone, BB OS and WM, and I will NEVER give up my WM phone for either of them. My IT department is constantly having people come back with BB problems, and the iPhone is nothing more then candy and pretty apps from the APP Store, NOTHING use full from a business perspective. My WM phone can take photos, video, GPS, Word, Excel, Outlook, Pandora, IRC, IM(AIM, ICQ, MSN, YAHOO), multitask, and use 3g or HSPA(or what ever the letters are), and play my podcasts, for a lower initial cost, and a lower monthly cost.

If you want to know what the problem is look at the hardware specs of the phones WM run on. Try running the iPhone OS on those specs and you will think the iPhone was a hunk of junk too.

AltecXP said,
I have used an iPhone, BB OS and WM, and I will NEVER give up my WM phone for either of them. My IT department is constantly having people come back with BB problems, and the iPhone is nothing more then candy and pretty apps from the APP Store, NOTHING use full from a business perspective. My WM phone can take photos, video, GPS, Word, Excel, Outlook, Pandora, IRC, IM(AIM, ICQ, MSN, YAHOO), multitask, and use 3g or HSPA(or what ever the letters are), and play my podcasts, for a lower initial cost, and a lower monthly cost.

If you want to know what the problem is look at the hardware specs of the phones WM run on. Try running the iPhone OS on those specs and you will think the iPhone was a hunk of junk too.


+1 Everything you said is true. Thank you for admitting that the iPhone is just eye candy, because that's what it is.

AltecXP said,
I have used an iPhone, BB OS and WM, and I will NEVER give up my WM phone for either of them. My IT department is constantly having people come back with BB problems, and the iPhone is nothing more then candy and pretty apps from the APP Store, NOTHING use full from a business perspective. My WM phone can take photos, video, GPS, Word, Excel, Outlook, Pandora, IRC, IM(AIM, ICQ, MSN, YAHOO), multitask, and use 3g or HSPA(or what ever the letters are), and play my podcasts, for a lower initial cost, and a lower monthly cost.

If you want to know what the problem is look at the hardware specs of the phones WM run on. Try running the iPhone OS on those specs and you will think the iPhone was a hunk of junk too.

I use my iPhone for taking photos, GPS, Word, Excel, Outlook (more accurately Exchange through Apple Mail), Pandora, IRC, IM(AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo) and use 3G/EDGE/HSDPA and play my podcasts; plus anything else I feel like when it's out of business hours.

The only thing I can't do with the stock OS that you listed is video and multitask; and to be honest, I'm more productive when Pandora isn't in the background when I'm out and about trying to get some work done. Honestly, where do you even use Pandora for multitasking business productivity? If I saw one of my employees with their headphones in (assuming they weren't at their desk working on their computer where they're welcome to plug headphones in to the PC) then I would give them a very quick talking to. I don't even need to argue the video comment.

When I go home I can then use it for it's "eye candy" and "flashy transitions" without having to have a second non-business mobile device; for a lower initial and lower monthly cost then having two phones (like I did when I previously used WinMo). You have to remember that a lot of the business iPhone users you are talking to have long since forgotten about WinMo: I was a long-time crackberry user between the iPhone and WinMo.

My company encourages listening to headphones in the office, its part of our environment here. so its not uncommon at all to see a VP with headphones on listining to his/her phone while also writting an email from it, or reviewing a word doc or PDF. I walk around most of the day with ear buds in 1 ear to listen to my ipod(just to saves the phones battery life).

Tom W said,
Very lame. Poor ms guys forced to use windows mobile, that's painful!


But OTOH, that should motivate them to make it better, no?

andrewbares said,
Lol, you're gonna say that Microsoft can't promote their own products?

this has nothing to do with promoting their own products, this is about not subsidizing for things which the money ends up anywhere else but back with themselves...

how silly it would be, promoting your own products to your own employees...

Most lamest thing I ever read, bad job Microsoft, not only trying to limit your consumers, now days you're after limiting your own workers..

turk4n said,
Most lamest thing I ever read, bad job Microsoft, not only trying to limit your consumers, now days you're after limiting your own workers..

what so they don't want to spend money waits wrong with that, in fact there the only main company who did pay for it

Shame on Microsoft not giving money to their competitors instead of promoting their own devices! Shame on them!

Microsoft giving subsidies on the iPhone is like HP buying Dell computers for their head office.

Majesticmerc said,
Shame on Microsoft not giving money to their competitors instead of promoting their own devices! Shame on them!

Microsoft giving subsidies on the iPhone is like HP buying Dell computers for their head office.


Microsoft make portable devices now? No. They make the OS. To put your analogy better, it'd be like Microsoft buying computers for their employees, and putting UNIX on them. AND, it refers to their data plans being reimbursed, not the cost of the phone/contract/etc.

andrewbares said,
If they gave them iPhones, then they would be limiting their own workers. With Windows on ur phone, there are no limits.
Could you possibly sound any more like a Microsoft commercial?

roadwarrior said,
Could you possibly sound any more like a Microsoft commercial?

Better explanation: Windows Mobile allows anyone to create and test apps easily for free. iPhone apps have to go through Apple... which Microsoft doesn't like.

I think that's sorta what he was getting at in his Microsoft commercial comment. But more fanboyish.

Silverskull said,
Better explanation: Windows Mobile allows anyone to create and test apps easily for free. iPhone apps have to go through Apple... which Microsoft doesn't like.

I think that's sorta what he was getting at in his Microsoft commercial comment. But more fanboyish.


That was my main point. Also you can do ANYTHING with WinMo, without having to "jailbreak" it. You have complete freedom, just like with Android.

Silverskull said,
Better explanation: Windows Mobile allows anyone to create and test apps easily for free. iPhone apps have to go through Apple... which Microsoft doesn't like.

I think that's sorta what he was getting at in his Microsoft commercial comment. But more fanboyish.

I don't think it's a matter of development costs; I would hazard that the majority of Microsoft employees aren't in the software development stream. It really is just a method of cost cutting -- at risk of attack I would probably go so far as saying it could of been the least popular of the 3 phones used internally and thus the least beneficial to cut. I don't have figures to back that up but in my experience Blackberry's are infinitely more popular in the business streams.

Silverskull said,
Better explanation: Windows Mobile allows anyone to create and test apps easily for free. iPhone apps have to go through Apple... which Microsoft doesn't like.

I think that's sorta what he was getting at in his Microsoft commercial comment. But more fanboyish.


You are somewhat misinformed. You can develop and test iPhone apps for free as well. It is only the sale of the apps that goes through the App Store (something Microsoft is about to emulate with their own app store for WinMo).

Unmoved by independent market-analysis company Forrester Research's conclusion that "iPhone users are richer, younger, and perhaps even more productive at work than those who use competing smartphones,"

Most people I work with have a Blackberry and swear by it...followed way back by Windows Mobile and dead last iPhone (actually, nobody has one where I work). I do have a friend who has both a Blackberry (which he uses at work/for business) and an iPhone (after working hours). But nobody I work with would consider an iPhone for business use (because they would not be taken seriously if their colleages/business partners saw them with one).

daPhoenix said,
Well on the other hand if you came to Europe and you had a Blackberry, we'd laugh you out of the door.


Is Europue all Symbian?

andrewbares said,
Is Europue all Symbian?


Where's Europue? :p

Actually, Europe is a mixture of Symbian and Windows Mobile. Symbian is the most prevalent and suits the casual users. WM is the main business orientated OS and tends to get used more in, well... business. ;)

iPhone is a minority player here and most that buy one don't tend to buy another. It just doesn't have the basic functionality that phones here have had for years. It's a toy, little more.

Surely it's inflammatory to hide this sentence within the text....

These changes also apply to any employee who uses a Blackberry or a Palm Pre.

I would respect the story more if it didn't make it sound like the iPhone was being singled out for some vindictive reason.

Kirkburn said,
Surely it's inflammatory to hide this sentence within the text....

These changes also apply to any employee who uses a Blackberry or a Palm Pre.

I would respect the story more if it didn't make it sound like the iPhone was being singled out for some vindictive reason.

exactly

markjensen said,
Well, that is the same way that the original source article was phrased.

True, but still. That merely makes both this and that article inflammatory.

Kirkburn said,
Surely it's inflammatory to hide this sentence within the text....

These changes also apply to any employee who uses a Blackberry or a Palm Pre.

I would respect the story more if it didn't make it sound like the iPhone was being singled out for some vindictive reason.

well, the iphone is kinda more famous than the other two phones... so that gives it a bigger place in the article
its kind of like when a minor celebrity gets arrested by police, some people take notice, but if a big celebrity is busted doing something, its big news

It's a true tabloid article, the only thing missing is the paparazzi photo of a guy walking out of a building in Redmond looking sad

However, those who use Windows Mobile devices will still benefit from having their data plans reimbursed by Microsoft.

those Microsoft people can be such fanboys at times, you know...

Productive? Please. I've used Windows Mobile and last word I'd use is productive. I would definitely take the BlackBerry OS or the iPhone OS over WM any day.

A desktop class OS in the palm of your hand . Yes please , Lets face it its what everyones playing catch up to .

Hurmoth said,
Productive? Please. I've used Windows Mobile and last word I'd use is productive. I would definitely take the BlackBerry OS or the iPhone OS over WM any day.


Lol, you can't actually say the iPhone is productive. It's the least productive out of the smartphone OS's. You can't even multitask anyways with the iPhone!

I have the Palm Pre but I like WinMo even more because I can get more done with it.

I'd say my iPhone is more productive than my Windows Mobile at work... in that I can type an email on the iPhone quite quickly, but I lose my patience after about 2 minutes using the stupid fecking stylus on my HP SmartPhone.

And what use is multitasking on a phone with a screen a few inches across? iPhone takes a few seconds to launch an application - it's almost as quick as it would be to use task switching, so what's the big deal?

It's your HP smartphone that's crap, not the OS.
Get something like the HTC Touch Pro then come back and say the same thing.

SIE said,
It's your HP smartphone that's crap, not the OS.
Get something like the HTC Touch Pro then come back and say the same thing.


Very true. And I guess you can't listen to Pandora while writting a Word document, on ur iPhone, can you? That sucks. Multitasking is VERY important to being productive.

And I can type e-mails 2x faster than you, since I have a real keyboard. And I haven't pulled out a stylus for 2 months now. You need to learn more about WinMo.

It comes down to personal preference; I've owned 3 Windows Mobile devices and now own an iPhone and find it infinitely more productive for the kind of work I do on it. But I'm not looking to change your opinion, because my preference is my preference alone. Try not to get worked up Andrew

Rob said,
It comes down to personal preference; I've owned 3 Windows Mobile devices and now own an iPhone and find it infinitely more productive for the kind of work I do on it. But I'm not looking to change your opinion, because my preference is my preference alone. Try not to get worked up Andrew :)
Agreed 100%

bob21 said,
A desktop class OS in the palm of your hand . Yes please , Lets face it its what everyones playing catch up to .

WinMo is FAR from a desktop class OS. And last time I checked it was trying (poorly) to catch up to the iPhone on the ease of use department.

Sure its not based on Windows CE , It doesn't have a registry , It doesn't have .Net and it doesn't have a file explorer .

Rob said,
It comes down to personal preference; I've owned 3 Windows Mobile devices and now own an iPhone and find it infinitely more productive for the kind of work I do on it. But I'm not looking to change your opinion, because my preference is my preference alone. Try not to get worked up Andrew :)

Agreed also. The company I work for has offered WinMo devices subsisidised as standard for who knows how long now but we are quickly moving to the iPhone and a lot of other companies are in a similar position.

It isn't just the OS, though, it's the phone as well. I would recommend not taking anything Andrew says too seriously; he is pretty eager to jump in to anything pro-Microsoft.

Well WM does work alot better and simpler than all other devices in relation to the windows network...

RE like exchange features etc

Chicane-UK said,
I'd say my iPhone is more productive than my Windows Mobile at work... in that I can type an email on the iPhone quite quickly, but I lose my patience after about 2 minutes using the stupid fecking stylus on my HP SmartPhone.

And what use is multitasking on a phone with a screen a few inches across? iPhone takes a few seconds to launch an application - it's almost as quick as it would be to use task switching, so what's the big deal?

Mine's bigger than yours.....

Why are you guys fighting jeez Whats the point of multi tasking? how about opening a word doc, plus a pdf, then going back and forth between the two...or even having the app still open, unlike the iphone/ipod touch where you have to get back out to the home screen, just to relaunch the same app again. worthless.

Chicane-UK said,
And what use is multitasking on a phone with a screen a few inches across? iPhone takes a few seconds to launch an application - it's almost as quick as it would be to use task switching, so what's the big deal?

Saving and closing your work in order to start another (non-native) application doesn't seem very productive to me.

andrewbares said,
And I can type e-mails 2x faster than you, since I have a real keyboard. And I haven't pulled out a stylus for 2 months now. You need to learn more about WinMo.


Agreed.. Played with an iPhone for a few days and hated the fact I couldn't differentiate between keys when typing an E-Mail unless I looked at the screen.. Took the phone back and stuck with my BB 8700.

epple said,
Saving and closing your work in order to start another (non-native) application doesn't seem very productive to me.

You don't have to save and close your work. but you wouldn't know that because you think apps are still webapps and are not native. Your so wrong because most apps save what you are doing when the home button is pressed. In quickoffice, it saves where you left off but doesn't save the file, you can open quickoffice again and it starts where you left off in the document and if you close the document, it asks to save because it never did save. So your completely wrong, I have closed quickoffice several times to come back to a document with everything I put on it and I didn't have to do any saving or closing of work. It took a couple seconds to check my IM and then go back to quickoffice. With push technology coming, it will be even easier to switch to my IM by just tapping a button on a message that says I have a new IM that closes quickoffice and opens my IM without taking me to the homescreen.