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Internally locked apps by Microsoft and that's fine



Recently leaked a list of apps that Microsoft prohibits for use by internal employees, including Slack, Grammarly, and others. It's tempting to think that these are the actions of a company that hates competition, but the truth is more complicated.

Over the weekend, news is broadcast on the Internet. Microsoft has a list of apps and programs that it prohibits or discourages its employees from using in the job. The list of banned apps includes consumer versions of Slack and Grammarly, while the discouraging list includes Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Docs, the cloud version of Github, and the Enterprise version of Slack.

Instead of Slack, Microsoft would like to use the staff teams (developed by the company). Instead of AWS or Google Docs, employees are referred to Azure and Office 365, also Microsoft products.

At first glance, it is easy to believe that this is a problem choice to attract employees for the company's products to promote business entry. You could even accuse the company of doing so only because its own offerings are not comparable to competitive products and employees would not use teams and Office 365 otherwise.

This is not the case. In almost every major corporation, it is common practice to ban and discourage certain tools. And it is a protective measure that prevents the accidental leakage of Intellectual Property (IP).

As the list shows, Slack's Free, Standard and Plus versions are not secure and can not promise IP protection. The last thing a company wants to know is to find out if the source code has been compromised after an associate has used part of it in a chat app.

That's why Microsoft Slack Enterprise has not blocked. It has the necessary tools and protects IP. Instead, teams are discouraged. And that's a simple business decision. Slack Enterprise has a cost per user that the company does not specify on its website. The use of teams, however, costs Microsoft nothing because the company is the owner. It is only natural that the company prefers the cheaper option. If another company develops teams and costs more than Slack, Microsoft Slack Enterprise would be preferable to discouraging teams.

Grammarly has similar problems. Grammar searches for errors by sending your text to the cloud server. If an employee inserts the source code into an e-mail, they may mistakenly pass that code to Grammarly. Obviously, this risk would be unacceptable for any company that deals with IP and source code.

The fact that Github Cloud is on the list clearly shows that this list is not about banning competitive products. After all, Github belongs to Microsoft. Github Cloud is not as secure as the local version of Github. And for that reason, the latter is not forbidden or discouraged.

Anyone who has worked for other large companies (or even mid-sized companies) probably has similar stories about programs and apps that have been banned or discouraged in the workplace. It's not unusual practice at all, and while it can be frustrating for these people, curating tools protects the company from important issues. This is the final deciding factor for "the best tool for the job". [Geekwire]

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