Why Microsoft is reportedly mandating its employees in China stop using Android phones for work

Microsoft reportedly told employees that all China-based staff will be required to use Apple devices for work.

Microsoft mandated China staff to use iPhones for work starting in September, Bloomberg reported.The move is reportedly due to security changes and Google Play’s unavailability in China.Microsoft employees without an Apple device will be issued a free iPhone 15, the report said.

Microsoft is reportedly requiring all China-based staff to use only iPhones for work, effective September.

Bloomberg reported Monday, citing an internal memo, that the tech giant informed hundreds of employees that they must soon verify their identities through the Microsoft Authenticator password manager and Identity Pass app, which is available on Apple devices.

The change is happening as the company seeks to boost its internal security under Microsoft’s global Secure Future Initiative (SFI), announced last November.

So why aren’t Androids acceptable in the workplace? It boils down to apps.

Microsoft has reportedly decided to block employees from using Android devices to access its corporate platforms because Google’s mobile services, including its Google Play app store, are unavailable in China. That leaves Apple’s app ecosystem as the only place for Microsoft employees in China to download and use the Microsoft Authenticator and Identity Pass apps, according to the report.

But the company isn’t leaving Android fans within the company completely out to dry: They can continue using their Android devices for personal use, and the company will provide them with a free iPhone 15, Bloomberg reported.

Microsoft’s efforts to tighten its security practices follow cyber attacks from Russian and Chinese hackers. The company found itself in hot water for recent security failures, with a US Cyber Safety Review Board report in March detailing a “cascade” of “avoidable errors” at the company.

The review board revealed that hackers were able to access the Microsoft Exchange Online mailboxes of individuals across 22 organizations and download roughly 60,000 emails from the State Department alone.

A Microsoft spokesperson previously told Business Insider that “recent events have demonstrated a need to adopt a new culture of engineering security in our own networks.”

The expected overhaul manifested in May when Microsoft announced that it would be expanding the scope of SFI to include recommendations from the CSRB. Actions included protecting accounts with phishing-resistant multifactor authentication.

Microsoft’s executive vice president, Charlie Bell, wrote, “We are making security our top priority at Microsoft, above all else—over all other features.”

A Microsoft spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment on the reported iPhone mandate.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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