Originally Posted by AppleInsider
Although it's no secret that members of Microsoft's leadership frown upon employees who choose an Apple iPhone over one running the company's own Windows Mobile operating system, approximately 1 in 10 still veer towards the forbidden fruit and sometimes go to great lengths to conceal them on the job.
I worked for Microsoft, and half of that is wrong. Yes, there are a lot of Microsoft employees with iPhones (even back in 2008 when I was working for them), but they hardly go to great lengths to conceal them. If you're not on the Windows Mobile team, no one really cares - certainly not your direct managers.
I know several people on my team who actually watched the iPhone 3G announcement live, at work, during the day, using Microsoft's Internet connection.
I also know that many members of my team regularly used Google and Firefox. Again, unless you were on the IE or Bing (Live Search at that time), no one really cared.
The interesting thing is that you could tell the 'true believers' from the people who didn't live in the Microsoft bubble by what they thought about Windows Mobile. If they thought it was a good product (or tried to excuse its flaws by calling it "good for business"), they were a true believer. If they realized that the iPhone was going to kick their butt (in 2008 Windows Mobile was still ahead in market share, but it was clear that it wouldn't last), then they were a pragmatist.
It's the latter people (pragmatists) that drove Windows 7, Windows Mobile 7, and many of Microsoft's other successful products. It's the former people that resulted in huge missteps like putting IE development on hold from 2001-2004, Windows Vista, and UMPCs.
Apple seems to be much better at avoiding the bubble. They launched the iPhone without third-party apps (except for the silly web-app strategy), but when it was clear that the market wanted more, they were able to add apps in a big way just a year later. They released the iPod touch when it was clear that users wanted a device without a phone.
Microsoft tends to keep pushing their failures even when they don't work out. Tablet PC is a great example - no one wanted a low-powered, short battery life laptop in 2002, and they don't want one now. Tablets did OK in some markets like medicine, but the reality is that you can't shrink a PC and deliver a powerful-enough machine that's also small, has good battery life, and is cheap. It seems that Microsoft has figured this out now, but it took Apple to kick them in the ass before they realized it.