Microsoft bans employees from using Slack, discourages the use of AWS and Google Docs
It is not common for companies to ban their employees from using the products and services by rival companies. Last year, a reported suggested that Facebook founder Mark Zuckeberg had prohibited his employees from using iPhones following a tiff with the Apple CEO Tim Cook over his comments on the social media giant being a part of one of the world's biggest security scandals. And now, Microsoft has reportedly banned its employees from using Slack and discouraged them from using a bunch of other apps including the Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Docs.
The report comes as a courtesy of GeekWire, which obtained Microsoft's internal list of "prohibited and discouraged technology" or in simple words the devices and services the Redmond, Washington based tech giant doesn't want its employees to use.
As per the list obtained by the publication, Microsoft has banned its employees from using Slack Free, Slack Standard and Slack Plus versions of Slack - a cloud-based team collaboration software. Reason? The reason is simple. It does not protect Microsoft Intellectual Property (IP). "Existing users of these solutions should migrate chat history and files related to Microsoft business to Microsoft Teams, which offers the same features and integrated Office 365 apps, calling and meeting functionality," the note says.
Interestingly, the software giant has allowed its employees to use Slack Enterprise Grid on the grounds that it meets the company's security requirements, however, it has urged them to use Microsoft Teams - which stands at a direct competitor to Slack -- because it is a "competitive software".
Apart from banning Slack, Microsoft has also banned its employees from using Grammerly on the grounds that it is able to access Information Rights Management (IRM) protected content within the company's internal documents and emails.
As far as its 'discouraged' list is concerned, the list includes names like AWS and Google Docs as they directly compete with the company's Azure cloud platform and Office 365.
"It is highly recommended to start a migration plan to Azure prior to engaging the Governance team for new request or renewals," the summary reads. Employees need "a business justification" to use these services. "It is highly recommended to start a migration plan to Azure prior to engaging the Governance team for new request or renewals," the internal note obtained by the publication states.
Surprisingly, Microsoft has also added GitHub - the software repository that the company acquired last year for $7.5 billion - to its "discouraged" list. However, the catch is that the company has placed an outright ban on GitHub. Instead it has discouraged users from using the cloud version of the software for highly confidential information.
Notably, this is not the first time that Microsoft has banned or restricted its employees from using products by rival companies. According to a report by ZDNet, the company back in 2012 had banned its sales and marketing employees from using iPad and Mac devices.