At this point, it seems as if the iPhone has caught more ‘cheaters’ than Joey Greco. Its most recent victim? Why none other than Microsoft executive Joe Belfiore. Currently the company’s Corporate VP of Operating Systems, Belfiore is primarily known for heading up the company’s Windows Phone division.
Currently on a 9-month sabbatical, Belfiore was recently traveling through Kyoto, Japan and published a tweet that, upon further inspection, was sent from an iPhone.
Is this a big deal? The end of the world, perhaps? Of course not, but given Microsoft and Apple’s storied history of competition, it’s pretty darn funny. After all, who can forget the fact that both Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates famously forbade their family members from using Apple products? And who can forget the mock funeral Microsoft held for the iPhone in 2010 to commemorate a developmental milestone for Windows Phone 7?
You can check out the offending tweet below, courtesy of AppleInsider.
So what gives? Well, there’s an explanation for the curiosity you see above, and no, we’re not referring to Belfiore’s newfound mop of blonde hair.
Belfiore writes in the comments section on The Verge:
Joe here — I wanted to comment because I think it’s useful for anyone working in tech.. or ASPIRING to work in tech.. to think about the trade-offs involved in what somehow appears as a “dramatic” decision! I suspect the significant majority of you will land on the same side of the issue that I have…
My job for the last couple of years has been (1) to curate the PC experience for Windows PCs (including tablet devices) and (2) to curate the experience for Windows Phones. In both capacities, it’s very important for me to understand products like the iPhone and Android phones, which are heavily used by PC users around the world, and which represent the competition for Windows Phone. Consumers and business users expect their PCs and phones to work in concert— so to satisfy our customers we need to consider the devices they use AS WELL AS the devices we’d like them to use.
On a 9-month leave-of-absence, I have a HUGE AND UNUSUAL opportunity to get to know these products deeply. To understand the benefits and drawbacks of a full ecosystem like Windows, Android, iOS — you have to LIVE IN IT. You have to feel its strengths and weaknesses, be let down, be delighted. And you can’t do that just “playing around” with a device for a couple of days. You have to learn the UI, upload your photos, use cross-device apps and tools… all of it.
When we are developing a release of Windows, we MUST use it all the time, on all devices, in order to find the bugs, iterate the design. There’s really no choice or we can’t build Windows as well as we should. On a leave-of-absence, there are tons of talented people doing that every day, which gives me the possibility of spending depth time on other devices, and using Windows very much like you Insiders do, without full knowledge of what’s happening “behind the curtain”.
Furthermore, there’s a lot of work happening at MS which integrates Windows PCs with iOS and Android devices— like bringing Cortana to these phones so your intelligent assistant can help you whereever you are. I want to experience and understand all that work deeply too.
So … I think Vlad has it right when he says “it’s OK”. (Thank you, Vlad.) But, I’d go farther and say “it’d be CRAZY not to”! In fact, when I posted on FB that I was taking a leave, I did mention explicitly that I would do this… and (horror of horrors) I’ve followed through, spending a bunch of time using Google Maps, Spotify, Periscope, a MacBook, a Nexus phone, etc.
And.. in today’s Microsoft, this practical, customer-focused attitude is well celebrated and supported. (and.. btw… I love my Surface Book!)
That’s all from me. Back to quality time with my family, well, and thinking about the (still-obviously-so-entertaining) question of what I could do next with my hair…
So for as much as we like to poke fun at Belfiore using an iPhone, his rationale for stepping on over to the dark side is actually well-thought out and quite smart.
And showing some good humor about the entire situation, Belfiore early today fired off the following tweet.
Right now I’m just bummed that I left my Palm Pre behind. I really loved that phone, and THAT tweet would have TOTALLY thrown you all…
— joebelfiore (@joebelfiore) January 26, 2016