Microsoft has told all its employees in China that they will soon only be allowed to use iPhones for work purposes. The ban on Android devices is part of a security-related Microsoft initiative for providing a unified way of managing and verifying employee identities.

The mandate, set to come into effect in September 2024, was announced in an internal memo seen by Bloomberg News. It will require Microsoft’s China-based workers to verify their identities when logging in to work computers or phones. The change is part of Microsoft’s global Secure Future Initiative that is intended, among other things, to ensure that all staff use the Microsoft Authenticator password manager and Identity Pass app.

While Apple’s iOS store is available in China, Google Play isn’t. Local smartphone giants such as Huawei and Xiaomi operate their own platforms in the country, but Microsoft has chosen to block access from those companies’ devices to its corporate resources because they lack Google’s mobile services, reads the memo.

Any staff in the country using Android handsets, including those from Huawei or Xiaomi, will be provided with an iPhone 15, as a one-time purchase. The Redmond giant is designating collection points across China where employees can pick up their iPhones.

Microsoft is also introducing the iPhones-only rule in Hong Kong, despite the Google Play Store being available in the special administrative region of China.

  • Darkassassin07@lemmy.ca
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    11 days ago

    Any staff in the country using Android handsets, including those from Huawei or Xiaomi, will be provided with an iPhone 15, as a one-time purchase

    Fuck off. If you’re mandating what device I’m to use for work; you’re going to provide said device free of charge, or shut the fuck up when I use whatever I like.

    • thatKamGuy@sh.itjust.works
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      10 days ago

      That’s my read of it, or am I misunderstanding something?

      Microsoft will purchase for their Android using employees an iPhone 15. The reference to one-time being that employees are only entitled to one, in the event they were to lose or damage it?

      • Darkassassin07@lemmy.ca
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        10 days ago

        I could be wrong; but it came across to me as a “we’ll sell you one at a special discount”

        • thatKamGuy@sh.itjust.works
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          10 days ago

          Fair enough; it’s a bit vaguely worded and could be interpreted multiple ways.

          From my experience, big corporations have always either provided me with company-issued phones for official use, or offered an additional allowance if I’ve opted to use my own personal device.

          Then again, given how absolutely absurd some of Microsoft’s recent decisions have been (eg. Recall) - you can’t really be certain.

          • turddle@lemmy.world
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            10 days ago

            Considering they are designating “collection points” for the phones, I think you read it correctly.

            One-time purchase is probably to incentivize not losing/selling your company phone.

    • Flying Squid@lemmy.world
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      10 days ago

      That’s not how it works in “communist” China.

      Workers don’t have too many rights.

  • TechNerdWizard42@lemmy.world
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    11 days ago

    It’s a Google updates issue since they’re blocked. Apple isn’t but they comply with the Chinese government just as much as they do in the US as does Google. Remember Google is banned because it would not comply with China. How quickly the Americans forget.

    Most likely the corporate spyware that Microsoft enables, requires very recent Google services and Apple services to operate. It’s pretty standard in the corporate spyware world. Usually just a few months out of date at most.

  • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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    10 days ago

    The Redmond giant

    One of my least favorite things in journalism. Idk if it is SEO or what but it’s so bizarre.

    • hamsterkill@lemmy.sdf.org
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      10 days ago

      It’s just a writer seeking to vary their language a bit. It’s a trick to keep themselves from repeating “Microsoft” quite so many times in a short span, as too much word repetition can cause readers to “tune out”.

      • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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        10 days ago

        That’s fair enough, but “the X giant” in particular I see so often. It feels like an in-joke amongst journalists or something.

      • hakunawazo@lemmy.world
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        9 days ago

        Oh I could help them out with a few synonyms: The asshats with the Internet Explorer, the start menu advertising clowns, the BSOD guys, the USE ONLY MY WEBBROWSER bullies, …

    • HyperMegaNet@lemm.ee
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      11 days ago

      I know you’re joking, but having a seperate phone exclusively for work stuff is actually great, specifically because it makes it easier to entirely seperate yourself from work. At my old job, I was given a work phone and it was the only phone number I used for all my work stuff. When I was at work, I would answer it, and outside of that it was off or on silent in my work bag. If they wanted me to answer outside of work hours, they had to pay me on-call rates. The same thing applied to group chats and other work-related stuff like that, (e.g. emails). It all went to that phone, and unless I was being paid to be contactable outside of work hours, I wouldn’t be.

      The only exception to that was my manager and a select few people who had my personal number for genuine emergencies, and if they used my personal number to contact me asking me about work, it was entirely at my discretion to respond and would mean I’d get on-call pay.

      It also meant I could keep my work and personal accounts/apps/etc. completely seperate. If they asked me to download some random app, I could do it on the work phone without worrying about whether they would be able to access other data on my phone or anything like that. Whenever I needed a phone number for 2FA or whatever, I could use the work number and not worry about where exactly that number would end up or how it might be used. For example, I used my work number to register for a conference, and then for months afterwards I would get calls and texts from sales people. That was still slightly annoying, but it was much better than getting calls on my personal phone.

      It also meant that when I left that job, I could just wipe that phone without having to worry about having personal data on there, because I never used it for anything except work stuff.

      It does sound like Microsoft is asking their employees to pay for an iPhone which is a bit dodgy in my opinion, but I’d still probably take the opportunity to use it completely for work and keep my personal phone seperate. It’s easy enough to get another number, and then when you leave that job you can cancel it and get a new number for the next job, cutting that link entirely.

    • Gormadt@lemmy.blahaj.zone
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      11 days ago

      It says they’ll be provided one as a “one time purchase” so I’m thinking it’s not free and they have one chance to buy it

        • Darkassassin07@lemmy.ca
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          11 days ago

          China, so definitely not the same worker protections; but where I’m at, that kind of deduction isn’t legal.

          • viking@infosec.pub
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            10 days ago

            I’m a senior manager for a company in China, and that isn’t legal here either. Pretty sure they’ll provide it for free. Even when we are talking about somewhat decently paid employees, that phone easily costs a whole month’s salary, potentially more.

        • EngineerGaming@feddit.nl
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          11 days ago

          Being required such an insane purchase is completely inappropriate… I wonder how old they’re allowed to be, this could only be affordable as old and secondhand.

    • d00ery@lemmy.world
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      10 days ago

      And Android phones are also made by Microsoft’s competitor in many fields.

      To me the bigger wtf is why Apple has an App store there, but Android do not.

      • Resol van Lemmy@lemmy.world
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        10 days ago

        Android is being used by Microsoft now since Windows Phone didn’t really do very well. Their Surface Duo device runs Android. Windows 11 has a “Windows Subsystem for Android” feature… that uses the Amazon Appstore (and is actually getting phased out - the WSA thing, not the Amazon Appstore).

        And yeah, I have no idea why the Google Play Store isn’t available there, seems like a pretty weird decision. Can you tell I hate geoblocking?

      • Resol van Lemmy@lemmy.world
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        8 days ago

        Trying to see if I can reply to a deleted comment, feel free to downvote since what I’m saying is completely irrelevant.

  • Rayspekt@lemmy.world
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    11 days ago

    Maybe just release AND support some decent phones if your own, Macroshit.

    • partial_accumen@lemmy.world
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      11 days ago

      Have you seen Windows 11? I have no faith Microsoft could produce a decent phone OS that would serve users well.

      • TopHatExtraordinaire@programming.dev
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        11 days ago

        The Microsoft phone was decent, but, yea, their app store was lacking. Shoutout to the Zune, which was pretty good software & hardware from what I can remember.

        • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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          10 days ago

          I will forever maintain that on a purely hardware level that the Zune was better than the iPod. iTunes and later the App Store for iPod Touch is what made iPod won. Zune had no apps.

        • roguetrick@lemmy.world
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          10 days ago

          Dude I went to high school with loved the zune so much he got it’s logo or something tattooed on him. Of course he also liked to tase his own balls, so his tastes were questionable.

    • x4740N@lemm.ee
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      11 days ago

      The opposite of microsoft is Megahard

      microsoft is small and can’t get hard

  • FiniteBanjo@lemmy.today
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    11 days ago

    I don’t like apple but due to the heavy nuance of this situation I approve of this action. It would have been better for them to develop and distribute their own methods of secure authentication but I realize a for profit company would never agree to that.