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Microsoft China Bans Android, Asks Employees to Switch to iPhone Amidst Security Concerns

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist Author expertise
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  • Through an internal memo circulated earlier this week, Microsoft told its employees in China that it will soon ban Androids in the office.
  • Every member of the staff will have to switch to an iPhone by September 2024. The good news is that the replacement will be provided by Microsoft itself.
  • Microsoft has recently been hit by multiple data breaches that have called its security into question. A scathing report on its security inefficiencies from the U.S. government added insult to injury, forcing the company to take this drastic step.

Microsoft China Bans Android, Asks Employees to Switch to iPhone Amidst Security Concerns

Microsoft is planning to ban its employees in China from using Android devices to log into its corporate network. The entire Microsoft China staff will have to shift to iPhones by September 2024.

This policy update was announced through an internal Microsoft memo sent out to the company’s employees in China and was first brought to light by a Bloomberg report.

According to that report, this step is a part of Microsoft’s new Secure Future Initiative—a series of steps taken by the company to improve security within the organization.

Multiple data breaches one after the other, along with a report from the U.S. government that called out the company’s ineffective cybersecurity practices, have forced Microsoft to go down this path. What’s more, the U.S. Congress banned Copilot from staff devices just a couple of months ago.

Another reason for this drastic policy change is the unavailability of the Google Play Store in China. Employees are forced to rely on Xiaomi and Huawei app stores, much to the displeasure of the tech firm.

On the other hand, the Apple App Store works perfectly well in the country, making it a suitable alternative for the company and its workforce in China.

It’s well worth noting that a similar change is also expected to take place in Microsoft’s Hong Kong branch. Also, Microsoft, in May of this year, had asked its employees in China to consider relocating outside of the country.

How Will This Change Roll Out?

Since Microsoft’s China Android ban is expected to affect hundreds of employees, the company has taken it upon itself to carry out the process smoothly.

For starters, all Microsoft employees with a smartphone will be issued an iPhone 15 by the company itself. This is commendable, although Android fanboys like me would argue that even a basic $200 Android phone beats the iPhone 15 when it comes to display and battery life.

Next, each Microsoft facility will have a dedicated place where the employees can come and pick up their new devices.

Once on their new device, the staff will also be asked to install the Microsoft Authenticator password manager and Identity Pass app.

In Other News

While Microsoft doesn’t think Chinese phone makers like Huawei and Xiaomi are capable of offering a secure work environment to its staff, it continues to support China at a time when most U.S. companies are turning their backs on it.

For instance, OpenAI recently banned API access to its AI models in China. The ban came into effect on July 9. However, Microsoft will not follow in OpenAI’s footsteps.

A spokesperson from the company said that there has been no change to Microsoft’s Azure OpenAI Service offerings in China. Eligible customers in the country will continue to have access through models deployed outside the region.

The spokesperson also added that while Microsoft is a major investor in OpenAI, the latter is still an independent company that makes its own decisions, unrelated to Microsoft.

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Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi Chowdhary Journalist

Krishi is an eager Tech Journalist and content writer for both B2B and B2C, with a focus on making the process of purchasing software easier for businesses and enhancing their online presence and SEO.

Krishi has a special skill set in writing about technology news, creating educational content on customer relationship management (CRM) software, and recommending project management tools that can help small businesses increase their revenue.

Alongside his writing and blogging work, Krishi's other hobbies include studying the financial markets and cricket.

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