The Ultimate Complement: When Your Competitor Uses Your Product

BallmerSteveIphone2010-03-16.jpg

“. . . apparently a photo that was snapped from the iPhone as Ballmer brandished it above his head.” Source of caption and photo: http://www.gearfuse.com/ballmer-lashes-out-at-microsoft-employed-iphone-user-threatens-to-smash-iphone/

(p. A1) REDMOND, Wash.–Microsoft Corp. employees are passionate users of the latest tech toys. But there is one gadget love that many at the company dare not name: the iPhone.

The iPhone is made, of course, by Microsoft’s longtime rival, Apple Inc. The device’s success is a nagging reminder for Microsoft executives of how the company’s own efforts to compete in the mobile business have fallen short in recent years. What is especially painful is that many of Microsoft’s own employees are nuts for the device.
The perils of being an iPhone user at Microsoft were on display last September. At an all- company meeting in a Seattle sports stadium, one hapless employee used his iPhone to snap photos of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee’s hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present.
. . .
Nearly 10,000 iPhone users were accessing the Microsoft employee email system last year, say two people who heard the estimates from senior Microsoft executives. That figure equals about 10% of the company’s glo-(p. A10)bal work force.
Employees at Apple, in contrast, appear to be more devoted to the company’s own mobile phone. Several people who work at the company or deal regularly with employees there say they can’t recall seeing Apple workers with mobile phones other than the iPhone in recent memory.

For the full story, see:
NICK WINGFIELD. “Forbidden Fruit: Microsoft Workers Hide Their iPhones; Steve Ballmer Sours on Apple Product; Work for Ford, Drive a Ford.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., MARCH 13, 2010): A1 & A10.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the article had the date MARCH 12, 2010.)

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