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Microsoft legislates against iPhones

Redmond has apparently decided to try to strong-arm its employees into using its own technology. Those who can, compete....

The dirty little secret at Microsoft (and at Red Hat, for that matter) has been the rise of the iPhone within employee ranks.

It's one thing to try to impose one's technology on an unsuspecting market, but Microsoft employees know that the iPhone makes their Windows Mobile devices look like Tinkertoys, which is why it's so easy to find iPhones at Microsoft's Redmond campus.

Or has been. In a relatively recent move, as The Business Insider reports, Microsoft has cut off reimbursements for data plans other than those linked to Windows Mobile devices. The move was ostensibly made to cut costs but likely also intended to save face by ensuring company employees use company technology.

It's a noble attempt to impose change through legislation. Perhaps Microsoft has learned something from European regulators.

Not that Microsoft is alone in trying to restrict choice. Microsoft enthusiast groups like the JCXP site are calling for a ban on the Opera browser to protest its involvement in recent European Commission antitrust proceedings. It's unclear whether the protesters will actually be able to find any Opera users to persuade away from the browser.

But good luck all the same.

There was a day when Microsoft was so impervious to competition that actions like this would have been unthinkable. Those days are gone. Microsoft is still dominant, but it's becoming clearer every day that there are mainstream alternatives to Microsoft technology that are clearly better than its own offerings.

Rather than legislating change, Microsoft could try innovating change. Those who can, compete....

Follow me on Twitter @mjasay.