If you are the type of person who works at a tech company, chances are that you are also the type of person who cares about having the best gadgets. This gets a little awkward, for example, when you’re working at Microsoft and you take out your iPhone to get a picture of CEO Steve Ballmer at an all-company meeting.
Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee’s hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present.
One iPhone-using Microsoft employee says he will not pick up the phone if he’s in a meeting with Ballmer, no matter who is calling. To appease Ballmer, Stephen Elop, president of Microsoft’s business division, put his iPhone in a blender at his first sales meeting after joining the company in 2008. Other Microsoft employees have thought of novel ways to denigrate their Apple smartphones.
Microsoft software engineer Eugene Lin recently gave a public talk in Seattle about developing software for the iPhone in his spare time. One of his creations: a racy application called Peekaboo that lets people ogle scantily clad cartoon women. A YouTube video of the Seattle talk by Mr. Lin, who didn’t respond to messages seeking comment, has been viewed more than 73,000 times.
Nearly 10,000 iPhones accessed Microsoft employee e-mail last year, which amounts to about 10 percent of the company’s global work force. Short of controlling which phones its employees may use, the company will only reimburse service fees for employees with phones that run on the Windows Phone platform. These phones will also not get stomped.