With just shy of 135,000 people working for the company, Microsoft obviously has their work cut out when it comes to ensuring that everything runs smoothly. According to a recent report from Geekwire, however, they don’t exactly make things easy for themselves.
As it turns out, Microsoft is somewhat wary about engaging with competitor programs in the business, and has gone so far as to prohibit employees from using them to do their jobs. “GeekWire obtained an internal Microsoft list of prohibited and discouraged technology – software and online services that the company doesn’t want its employees using as part of their day-to-day work,” they explained.
After some investigation, Geekwire found seven programs that Microsoft has effectively banned its employees from using – and one or two of them are particularly surprising…
As of May last year, Slack reported that 10 million people are using their platform to communicate in workspaces. However, Microsoft isn’t a customer. According to them, the reason behind this is that “Slack Free, Slack Standard and Slack Plus versions do not provide required controls to properly protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP).”
Instead of Slack, Microsoft encourages its employees to use Microsoft Teams, which they claim has all the same features and functionality.
It’s not entirely clear why Microsoft has prohibited its staff from using the Russian security software, but it could have something to do with concerns expressed by the US government. Kaspersky is not currently being used by any official channels, and, according to the CEO, Anton Shingarev, “Unless the political situation changes, we don’t expect any change… For the next couple of years, it is going to be more or less the same.”
Amazon Web Services
The use of AWS is not strictly banned by Microsoft, but it is “discouraged”. The reasoning behind this is fairly obvious: AWS is a direct competitor of Microsoft Azure.
Geekwire reports that employees “will require a business justification” to use the platform, and that Microsoft says “it is highly recommended to start a migration plan to Azure prior to engaging the Governance team for new request or renewals.”
Much like AWS, Google Docs is a problem for Microsoft because it is a competitor. Obviously, the company would prefer its staff to use Office 365, and so people are expected to provide justification for using the rival product.
Only a year ago, PagerDuty and Microsoft were working together. Now, however, it seems that a wedge has been driven between the companies, as employees are once again “discouraged” from using the SaaS platform. Again, it isn’t entirely clear why.
The advanced spell-checking software may boast millions of users, but Microsoft doesn’t trust it.
“The Grammarly Office add-in and browser extensions should not be used on the Microsoft network because they are able to access Information Rights Management (IRM) protected content within emails and documents,” Microsoft said, noting that this could potentially lead to data getting leaked.
We’ve already mentioned that a lot of these programmes are discouraged or prohibited because they are competitors, but GitHub doesn’t align with that. In fact, the software development platform is – as of 2018 – owned by Microsoft.
Despite this, the tech company has asked staff not to use the cloud version of GitHub “for highly confidential types of information, specs or code”. Everything else is kosher, however, and Microsoft even boasted in their acquisition of GitHub last year that “[they] are the most active organization on GitHub, with more than 2 million ‘commits,’ or updates, made to projects.”
Clearly, Microsoft has some fairly stringent regulations when it comes to keeping competitors out of business – but, given their continuing success, it’s difficult to criticise!