Microsoft Bans Employees in China from Using Android, iPhone 15 as a Replacement

Updated July 10, 2024 Dan Gadget

Microsft Logo. Image: James Martin/CNET

Microsoft has recently issued a directive to its employees in China to stop using Android smartphones due to security reasons. Instead, they are required to switch to using iPhone as their work device. This decision was communicated through an internal memo and was first reported by Bloomberg.

According to the memo, all Microsoft staff in China must replace their Android phones with iPhones starting in September 2024. Employees who do not already have an iPhone will be provided with an iPhone 15 by the company. Microsoft will set up specific points to distribute iPhones to employees in need across all its facilities in China.

Secure Future Initiative

This new policy is part of Microsoft's Secure Future Initiative, announced at the end of last year. The initiative aims to combat increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. As part of this initiative, employees are required to log in to the work system using their phone and two Microsoft apps for multi-factor authentication (MFA). It is specified that these apps can only be accessed through an iPhone.

"This move, which is part of Microsoft's Secure Future Initiative, will affect hundreds of employees across mainland China and is intended to ensure that all staff use the Microsoft Authenticator password manager and Identiti Pass app," reported Bloomberg, as cited by 9to5Mac.

Choice of iPhone

The choice of iPhone as the alternative phone is attributed to the official availability of the Apple App Store in mainland China. Unlike Android phones in China, which do not have access to the official Google Play Store, as Google does not operate in the country. Android phones sold in China typically run on third-party app stores, raising security concerns for Microsoft. By exclusively allowing access through iPhones, Microsoft aims to enhance security measures for its employees.

Diverging Policies

It is interesting to note that Microsoft's policy stands in contrast to the Chinese government's stance. Last year, the Chinese government banned employees working in state-owned enterprises and government bodies from using iPhones for work-related matters.

As Microsoft continues to prioritize security and strengthen its measures against cyber threats, the adoption of iPhones over Android phones among its employees in China is a strategic move to ensure the protection of sensitive data and information.

Published: July 09, 2024

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