Danah Boyd: a Microsoft Researcher who uses an iPhone as her primary smartphone

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Danah Boyd: the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research who uses an iPhone as her primary smartphone

It should come as no surprise that those who work at Microsoft are likely using a Microsoft product, such as Windows Phone powered smartphone or a Windows PC. However, the culture in the organization is rapidly changing — especially with CEO Satya Nadella at the helm. We’ve already seen the release of Office for iPad, and the rumor of Office for Android arriving soon — Microsoft is branching out to other rival platforms.

So should it come as a surprise when Danah Boyd, the Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research, revealed that she primarily uses an Apple iPhone as her smartphone? “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,” she states.

According to her, she “despises” the device. Or perhaps she is just saying that and deep down she loves the Apple iPhone. However, it is understandable that she uses a competitor’s device for testing purposes since she is a researcher after all. Is this madness or is this openness? Has Microsoft entered a new era where its own employees use whatever product or service they so desire? It seems that way.

“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),” a Microsoft employee recently stated.

We’re beginning to see a lot more of this “openness” from the Redmond giant. For example, the company has the Nokia X lineup of Android-based devices. Office for iPad is a reality and Office for Android is around the corner. Microsoft employees are known to use Google as well as Apple products — for research purposes or for personal use.

Boyd also owns a MacBook Air and “a Lenovo.” In fact, she prefers using a Kindle over the Nook — which is interesting considering Microsoft invested $300 million in Nook a few years ago. Boyd also prefers Evernote over Microsoft’s own OneNote software. She loves Outlook, on the other hand.

Boyd also prefers to spell her name without capitalization (danah boyd) citing an “aesthetic appreciation” for the spelling of her name. She also prefers not to capitalize the letter “i.” This strikes me as a bit odd, but hey, whatever floats her boat.

How do you feel about Microsoft employees coming out of the shadows with rival products in their hands? Does it compromise their work somehow or is it something that only benefits the company in developing something better? Sound off in the comments below!

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