In another sign of the new Microsoft, Lifehacker just profiled a well-known Microsoft researcher, Danah Boyd, in which she discussed all the tech tools she uses every day, and almost none of them was made by Microsoft.
Boyd is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, and, to be fair, she also has a bunch of roles outside of Microsoft. She’s a research assistant professor at New York University; a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society; founder of the Data & Society Research Institute; and author of a new book, “It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens.”
As part of this profile, Lifehacker’s Andy Orin asked her about the tech she uses for her job(s).
What jumped out was this:
Current mobile device: My primary phone is an iPhone, but I despise the device. I only use it because it’s how I can test out apps in development. I really really really miss my Sidekick.
Current computer: I have two laptops—one is a MacBook Air and the other is a Lenovo.
She also names the Kindle and Evernote as must-haves. That’s interesting because Microsoft invested $300 million in Kindle competitor Nook a couple of years ago and has been pushing its own OneNote app as an Evernote-killer. The only Microsoft app that earns Boyd’s rave is the email app Outlook.
Even a few short years ago, a Microsoft employee wouldn’t go around publicly admitted that they loved non-Microsoft tools. We know they quietly used them because someone posted a question on Quora asking them about it in 2012 (long before Steve Ballmer retired).
“I worked at Microsoft, and yes. They use Google, they use Macs, they use many competitors’ products,” David Gómez-Rosado, replied.
Another Microsoft employee, Asif Khan, agreed, saying, “In Redmond, I see people carrying MacBooks and iPhones but I think they are personal devices (BYOD). Microsoft provides you a Windows laptop (you get a budget and choose whatever you want). You are also reimbursed for purchasing a Windows phone (you can use an iPhone but you pay for it).”
But it has only been since new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took over a few months ago that ‘softies started feeling safe talking about their favorite non-Microsoft tools in public.
That’s because Nadella doesn’t view anything “not Windows” as an enemy of Microsoft, but sees it as an opportunity to expand Microsoft’s reach.
All of a sudden, Apple products have become common onstage at Microsoft conferences. Microsoft’s new mobile device manufacturer, Nokia, builds a couple of Android phones.
And employees get to talk about their favorite (or most used and hated) non-Microsoft tech.
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