Microsoft bans expensing Apple products, misses an opportunity

It seems things have gotten so out of hand over in Redmond that the CFO of Microsoft’s Sales, Marketing, Services, IT, & Operations Group, Alain Crozier, had to send out a mass email to employees demanding that they cease purchasing Macs and iPads with company funds.

Mary-Jo Foley, a journalist over at ZDNet, had the email come across her desk from one of her sources. It read:

From: Alain Crozier
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 1:17 PM

Subject: Apple Purchases

Within SMSG we are putting in place a new policy that says that Apple products (Mac & iPad) should not be purchased with company funds.

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.

Outside of the US — we will work with your finance and procurement teams to send the right message and put the right processes in place.

The current purchase levels are low, however we recognize there will be a bit of transition work associated with this. Details of historical purchases in the US are provided in the attachment to help understand the changes that will be needed.Thank you for your support and leadership on this.

Alain Crozier?CFO | WW Sales, Marketing & Services Group?WW SMSG Finance

You know things are getting bad when you have to actually tell your employees to stop purchasing the competition’s gear to get work done. The memo downplays the problem, but we’re calling B.S. If it was actually a small problem, Crozier wouldn’t have to send out a mass email to everyone, like Foley suggests in her article.

Two things need to happen at Microsoft: First, they need to realize that they’re quickly falling off the pace set by Apple, and more recently Google’s Android platform; second, they need to stop worrying about the expensing of Apple products, and instead start asking the employees why they’re using the products. When a Microsoft employee prefers using a Mac or iPad to a Microsoft product, there’s a deeper problem than dollars in the company. If employees aren’t excited about Microsoft properties, why would consumers be?


Joshua is the Content Marketing Manager at BuySellAds. He’s also the founder of And since all that doesn’t quite give him enough content to wrangle, he’s also a technology journalist in his spare time, with bylines at PCWorld, Macworld… Full Bio