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Microsoft Shifts Chinese Staff to iPhones for Enhanced Security

After several security breaches, Microsoft is switching its Chinese workforce to iPhones instead of Android devices.

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is directing its Chinese employees to switch from to iPhones for work-related use. This new policy, highlighted in an internal memo leaked to Bloomberg, reflects an effort to strengthen security for its employees in .

Mandate Details and Timeline

According to the memo, workers are required to abandon their Android and switch to iPhone 15 models by a specified date in September. This adjustment aligns with a larger security strategy that Microsoft emphasized as critical back in May. The absence of the Google Play Store in China, which is vital for updating essential security and identification apps on Android, is a major reason behind this switch.

This decision comes after a series of security incidents that have impacted Microsoft's systems. In mid-2023, a China-based group accessed Outlook accounts in both the U.S. and Europe. Subsequently, Microsoft rolled out the Secure Future Initiative in November 2023 to enhance its defenses. However, an additional breach by a Russia-based group, which targeted the email accounts of high-ranking Microsoft officials in early January 2024, indicated the need for more robust security practices.

Impact on Employee Evaluations

Microsoft is now linking employees' adherence to cybersecurity guidelines with their performance reviews. Contributions to cybersecurity efforts will become a factor in determining employee pay and bonuses.

The lack of access to the Play Store in mainland China is a significant driver of Microsoft's decision. Without the Play Store, Android devices in this region struggle to update critical security applications like Microsoft Authenticator, increasing potential risks for work-related data and communications.

Switching to iPhones will allow Microsoft's Chinese staff to keep their security protocols current. This strategic move is intended to mitigate risks associated with outdated or unsupported security apps on Android.

SourceBloomberg
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.
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