An alleged Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) internal mail came to light today that outlaws the purchase of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products with company funds. The email was reported by Mar-Jo Foley on her blog. The policy is specifically targeted at those working in Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing, Services, IT and Operations Group. That arm of the company encompasses front line customer service professionals and emplo
ys around 46,000 people worldwide. The move would see, if implemented fully, would see these staff unable to submit any Apple product as a company expense, effectively ending the use of iPads and Macs in these sectors.
The email added that the Apple products would be removed from the company’s ordering catalogue in the United States and so would not be available for purchase at all through the normal channels. The email ended by stating that current purchasing levels were low and stated that there was a record of past purchases attached. That list was not available at time of writing. Microsoft apparently declined to comment on the veracity of the email. The reasons behind the move are unclear. If the numbers of purchases in the past were available perhaps more could be said.
It is possible that orders for these items have increased in recent years and the company was worried about the image this would convey as well as the revenue going directly to a competitor. It could certainly be true of the iPad which has reigned supreme in the tablet market, in both market share and reviews, since its release. If marketing and sales personnel were using the tablet it may worry Microsoft Executives. Before this year the company did not have a real alternative to the iPad. The upcoming introduction of Windows 8 and the Metro interface as the company’s premiere OS will change that.
Windows 8 will cater universally to both traditional PCs and mobile devices. The OS will offer classic and touch oriented options on the layout. The move by Microsoft to restrict the purchase, and therefore use, of the biggest player in the tablet market might be in build up to the release of its own devices. It made a similar move in 2009 when windows phone mobile came online. Since then the company’s staff have not been allowed to expense any other type of smartphone. The company provided all of its staff with Windows phones in 2010. This seems like a move in marketing consistency rather than a worry about funding the competition or a slight aimed at Apple.