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Microsoft email tells its sales group: Stop buying iPads

by David Needle

March 21 2012

A reported internal email tells employees in Microsoft's massive sales group they can no longer purchase Apple Macs or iPads.
A reported internal email tells employees in Microsoft's massive sales group they can no longer purchase Apple Macs or iPads.

Has Microsoft banned its sales and marketing group from buying Apple Macs and iPads? An alleged internal email claims that’s the case.

The email sent to Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing, Services, IT & Operations Group (SMSG)  covers some 46,000 employees worldwide. It was sent last week, according to ZDNet blogger Mary-Jo Foley who said she received it from a contact. 

A spokesperson for Microsoft told TabTimes the company had no comment on the report. 

Alain Crozier, the chief financial officer of SMSG allegedly sent the email on March 14 with the subject line: Apple Purchases. 

It reads in part: 

“Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds.

In the US we will be turning off the Apple products from the Zones Catalog next week, which is the standard purchasing mechanism for these products....

The current purchase levels are low, however we recognize there will be a bit of transition work associated with this.  Details of historical purchases in the US are provided in the attachment to help understand the changes that will be needed.Thank you for your support and leadership on this.” 

Foley, a long time Microsoft watcher, says she’s surprised such a purchasing policy wasn’t already in place though she’s quick to note Microsoft doesn’t prevent employees from using competitor’s products, the new policy just says it won't pay for the Apple products. 

Also, Apple has released some products for the iPad and iPhone and reportedly is developing a version of Office that will work on Apple’s market-leading tablet. 

Apple & Microsoft through thick and thin

Microsoft has had a somewhat tortured relationship with Apple, though it’s also been its longest ally. For example, Microsoft was one of the few early supporters of the Mac. But later in the late 1980s, under former CEO John Sculley, Apple sued Microsoft claiming that Windows copied the look and feel of the Mac OS. Apple lost the suit. 

The relationship between the two companies remained frosty until Steve Jobs returned as CEO and famously announced a renewed partnership with Microsoft at Macworld Expo in 1997. 

While Microsoft did pioneering work in smartphones and tablets, Apple later dominated the mobile landscape. Microsoft's attempt to compete with Apple’s iPod, the Zune, was a failure. 

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