Microsoft management frustrated as 80 percent of MS workers with music players have Apple iPods

“Microsoft’s leafy corporate campus in Redmond, Washington, is beginning to look like the streets of New York, London and just about everywhere else: Wherever you go, white headphones dangle from peoples’ ears. To the growing frustration and annoyance of Microsoft’s management, Apple Computer’s iPod is wildly popular among Microsoft’s workers,’ Leander Kahney reports for Wired News.

“‘About 80 percent of Microsoft employees who have a portable music player have an iPod,’ said one source, a high-level manager who asked to remain anonymous. ‘It’s pretty staggering.’ The source estimated 80 percent of Microsoft employees have a music player — that translates to 16,000 iPod users among the 25,000 who work at or near Microsoft’s corporate campus. ‘This irks the management team no end,’ said the source. So popular is the iPod, executives are increasingly sending out memos frowning on its use,’ Kahney reports.

“‘These guys are really quite scared,’ said the source of Microsoft’s management. ‘It shows how their backs are against the wall…. Even though it’s Microsoft, no one is interested in what we have to offer, even our own employees.’ So concerned is management, owning an iPod at Microsoft is beginning to become impolitic, the manager said. Employees are hiding their iPods by swapping the telltale white headphones for a less conspicuous pair,” Kahney reports. “As for hiding his own iPod use, the manager said he flaunts his iPod, despite the constant comments — and occasional arguments — it prompts. ‘I don’t really care if it pisses them off,’ he said. ‘I’ll argue why they’re doing it wrong. If you want me to stop using it, give me a product that works and is as easy to use.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Wonder how long it’ll take before they’re hiding Mac minis in their cubicles?

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Windows Media songs and videos found to carry Windows malware payloads – December 30, 2004
Columnist: Apple’s smug faithful will not prevail, Microsoft ‘good enough’ for the rest of us – April 16, 2004
The height of irony: Microsoft executive whines Apple-HP music deal ‘unfair’ – January 14, 2004
Microsoft unhappy with HP, Apple music pact; says deal will ‘limit choice’ – January 13, 2004


  1. This is the funniest story of the year so far. Now we see precisely why Steve Jobs is a genius for NOT opening up the iPod to work with WMA files and other online music stores. Even Microsoft’s own employees are totally buying into the iPod and iTunes even without the support of M$ and their crap services.

  2. Wow! I thought my corporate rules on mp3 players were strict! This really speaks volumes to the world about the fear that Microsoft has concerning the worldwide Apple phenomenon. They thought they were able to get rid of Apple, but they’re back!

  3. The real dig is not so much Digital Music- it’s DRM. Microsoft is wanting to attach DRM to everything in the no-too-distant future. The DRM would be M$’s Janus DRM, not Apple’s FairPlay. Every time a Windows user puts iTunes on a PC a whole set of Apple APIs goes on the PC including Rendezvous and those associated with QuickTime. This is wrecking Bill Gates’ vision of the future. Ain’t it great?

  4. This reminds me of a commercial years back where a guy drives this huge Pepsi truck through the desert. He sweating and obviously thirsty. At long last, he arrives at a truck stop where there is a vending machine. He gets a Coke, empties it at once and gets another one. Smiling at the man who runs the truck stop he lifts the can of Coke and says “One for the road!”

    Does anybody think, highly paid professionals will sport dorky “Pains for Sure” mp3 players?

  5. “If you want me to stop using it, give me a product that works and is as easy to use.”

    We have a winner in the 26th Annual Microsoft Unintentional Ironic Quote Contest!!

    I feel for you, buddy… That’s what Mac users have been saying about WinTel boxes since 1984…

  6. They shouldn’t feel bad. I use a Siemens SX66 PocketPC, and it’s the best phone/pda on the market hands down. Beats the crap out of the Treo 600 series. Microsoft’s mobile OS on this thing is more Mac like than a Palm could ever hope to be. It synchs up via bluetooth. It mounts like a hard disk via bluetooh. I move files back and forth like was moving them to another Mac.

    It has WiFI, Bluetooth, and GPRS.

    I can switch between WiFi and the cellular network to make calls.

    It’s a sweet device.

    Apple, who created the market, doesn’t even have such a device.

  7. NoPCZone,

    I agree with your assessment that it’s about DRM. Microsoft is huge not because Windows or Office are that good, it’s because they control the formats. Their future growth depends on their being able to control media formats, and the true battle between Microsoft and Apple isn’t about Windows vs. Mac OS X, it’s WMA vs. QuickTime.

    Microsoft previously could have cared less what hardware their employees flaunted around the campus. Look at the MacBU people drawing stares by proudly displaying their PowerBooks at Redmond. I really admire Roz Ho and her crew of Mac-loving buccaneers.

  8. And every iPod owner will have iTunes on his/her PC, which means that Windows Media Center will have to compete with iTunes/QuickTime, which means that MicroSoft will not win this round. The selling of many millions of iPod shuffles is going to be the nail in WMC’s coffin, because each PC user will install iTunes.

    Magic word: “only,” as in: “it’s only a matter of time.” !!!

  9. “Apple, who created the market, doesn’t even have such a device.”

    Apple is doing the wise thing by staying the hell away from the mobile device business. Let me amend that: the mobile device manufacturing business. You have good things to say about your Siemens PocketPC, but it’s the capabilities of the OS that make it so attractive. Apple would be better served by producing a mobile version of OS X and licensing it instead of making the device themselves.

    That being said, does anyone outside of Apple and Motorola really know what those two are up to? Motorola’s Razr phone is a runaway smash hit, and is stylish enough to have come out of Cupertino. Is this the signal that these companies could be poised to produce the much speculated-upon “iPhone”, with Moto doing the hardware, and Apple the OS?

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