It appears there is a trace amount of dog food going uneaten at Microsoft. The software giant is banning all purchases of Macs and iPads by its marketing and sales organization, according to an internal email seen by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley.
The email that purportedly comes from Alain Crozier, chief financial officer of Microsoft's Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, & Operations Group (SMSG), suggests that corporate purchases of Apple's computers and tablets are already pretty low in the business unit, but that Microsoft is taking the further step of "turning off the Apple products from the Zones Catalog next week, which is the standard purchasing mechanism for these products" in the United States.
The relevant SMSG folks based outside of the U.S. will receive assistance from the home office to "put the right processes in place" to get rid of future Mac and iPad purchases, the email goes on to say.
If the order is legit, it wouldn't be the first time Microsoft has nixed outside vendor products from its procurement catalog and/or list of products that employees are allowed to expense. As Foley noted Tuesday, "[i]t has been Microsoft's policy for years—dating back to Windows Mobile in 2009 —that iPhones, BlackBerrys, and Palm devices (and their respective data plans) cannot be expensed."
Microsoft handed out free Windows Phones to employees in 2010, Foley reported, which isn't particularly unusual for a tech company—Apple has supplied staffers with iPhones in the past, and some lucky Googlers received an employee-only Android phone back in 2009.
That's not to say the Microsoft will ban employees from buying and using their own privately purchased Macs and iPads, even on campus. There are plenty of iPhones up in Redmond these days, despite the restriction on expensing them, according to Foley.
If the ban on Macs makes some sense—after all, PCs running Windows are kind of a point of pride for Microsoft—the restriction on purchasing iPads seems a little premature, especially if some SMSG staffers have a real need for tablets in their work.
Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system has been optimized for tablets, but it's not expected to be released until October. The email doesn't say anything about Android tablets, so maybe SMSG employees can still purchase and expense those. Or maybe Microsoft's got some pre-released Windows 8 tablets on hand for staff—now that'd be a story.
Here's the full text of Crozier's email:
From: Alain Crozier
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:17 PM
Subject: Apple Purchases
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 U.S. we will be turning off the Apple products from the Zones Catalog next week, which is the standard purchasing mechanism for these products.
Outside of the US—we will work with your finance and procurement teams to send the right message and put the right processes in place.
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 U.S. are provided in the attachment to help understand the changes that will be needed. Thank you for your support and leadership on this.
Alain Crozier CFO | WW Sales, Marketing & Services Group WW SMSG Finance