It was recently reported by GeekWire that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has prohibited its employees from the use of various popular workplace technologies. While the list is quite long, the most surprising ones among the banned apps/solutions are Slack, Google Docs and Amazon Web Services. Microsoft apparently has a list of technology that is prohibited and discouraged for usage. When asked about the same, neither Microsoft nor Slack had anything to comment. But one of the reasons for installing such prohibitions in the workplace seems evident – curbing the potential spread of sensitive information. Let us look at it in a little more detail.
Microsoft Bans Solutions: The list
As mentioned earlier, a lot of workplace technologies make the prohibited and discouraged technology list. But there is a difference between both the sections of the list. The list of technologies in the prohibited section is outright banned from usage. The most popular technology to make the prohibited section is Slack. But considering Microsoft’s rivalry with it, it is hardly a surprise. Popular grammar checking app Grammarly also makes to the prohibited list, understandably because it logs and documents every keystroke.
But on the other hand, there is no outright ban on the technologies in the banned list. As the name suggests, they are discouraged from use and require a ‘business justification’ should the need arise, according to GeekWire. The Amazon Web Services and Google Docs also make to the discouraging list. Another surprising inclusion in the banned list is GitHub. Considering the fact that Microsoft outright owns GitHub and its code repository, it had no need to discourage its use. Other popular technologies to make the prohibited list include Kaspersky Antivirus software.
The Reason Behind Microsoft Bans Slack, AWS, Google Docs
One of the reasons for Microsoft to take such a stand looks to be the protection of sensitive information. Any employees using these apps will only allow people from rival companies access to their work and information regarding it. Considering that almost all the technologies are from Microsoft’s direct rivals, this decision makes a lot more sense. On top of that, it’s not like Microsoft is replacing those technologies with anything less efficient. Slack is a direct competitor for its Microsoft Teams collaboration app, which has its security and compliance features as one of its selling points. Amazon Web Services directly competes with Microsoft’s tried and tested Azure cloud and Google Docs works in the same space as that of the popular Microsoft Office 365. Therefore, not only are they preventing competition from having a look-in at their work, but also promoting their own applications among their employees at the same time.
The Ban On Slack Is Surprising
What makes this ban interesting is Slack’s inclusion in it. It was only in April that Slack announced a series of integrations with Microsoft’s Office 365, albeit not working with the company directly and just its APIs on the same. Slack announced Microsoft as its ‘primary competitor’ in its IPO filing, because of Microsoft’s apps which work in the same space as their own.
The rivalry popularly began just around when Microsoft was about to launch its Teams collaboration technology. Slack took out a full-page ad ‘congratulating’ Microsoft for entering the technology space and cautioning them after with some ‘friendly advice’. Considering the rivalry, it was obvious for the popular workplace collaboration technology to stand out in Microsoft’s prohibited list. At a valuation exceeding $20 billion, Slack debuted at the NYSE on Thursday. Will they be able to carry this rivalry forward, let’s wait and watch.