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Microsoft rumored to stop funding employee purchases of Apple's iPads, Macs

An e-mail claimed to be sent to Microsoft's employees states that they will no longer be able to use company funds to buy Apple's iPads or Macs.

The alleged internal company e-mail, provided to Mary-Jo Foley of ZDNet, claims to come from Alain Crozier, Chief Financial officer of Microsoft's Worldwide Sales, Marketing & Services Group. SMSG represents 46,000 worldwide employees at Microsoft who handle consumer and business sales, along with service and support.

"Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds," the purported e-mail says. "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 note goes on to claim that purchase levels of Macs and iPads with company funds are "low," partially justifying their elimination. Foley reached out to Microsoft for comment, but the company declined.

If the changes are true, it would be an extension of a policy toward the iPhone that Microsoft has held since 2009. That year, Microsoft executives modified their corporate policy to only reimburse service fees for employees using handsets that run the Windows Phone mobile operating system.

Still, one report from 2010 said that about 10 percent of Microsoft employees at the time were iPhone users. Since then, Apple's presence in the smartphone market has only grown, while Windows Phone 7 has struggled to compete with the iPhone and handsets based on Google's Android mobile operating system.


Microsoft SMSG CFO Alain Crozier.

While Windows Phone has tumbled in the smartphone market, Windows on the desktop has remained dominant, even as Apple's Mac platform has outgrown the PC market for years. But Windows faces a new threat with the iPad, as continued growth has led analysts, along with Apple executives, to believe the tablet market will become significantly larger than the PC market.

Microsoft hopes to counter the success of the iPad with its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, which will offer compatibility with traditional PC form factors as well as touchscreen tablets. The first Windows 8-based tablets are expected to hit the market this October.