Microsoft won’t pay for its employees’ Apple (AAPL) iPhone data service plans anymore, even if they’re used significantly for work purposes. Nor will it pay for Research In Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry service, or a new Palm Pre. Instead, it will only reimburse data plans for Microsoft Windows Mobile-powered smartphones.
Lots of negative noise about this on Twitter, but I think people are being too quick to take a shot at Microsoft without considering business realities.
I know from firsthand experience that some companies won’t reimburse mobile phone expenses regardless of platform. I also know that like it or not, it’s often a business truism that a company doesn’t support employees using competitors’ products or services. Would you?
When is the last time you heard about a Apple employee, under regular circumstances, being allowed to use a Windows laptop? How about an employee on Google’s Android team walking around with a BlackBerry? What about an HP employee conducting load tests with MicroFocus’s QALoad? How do you think shareholders would receive the Pepsi exec who is caught at a conference with a Coca-Cola product?
In business, you’re often well-served to eat your own dog food. Arguing that it’s wrong for a company to reimburse only those employees who do so is a bit idealistic in my book.