Microsoft to offer Apple devices to employees in China, cites absence of Android services

FILE PHOTO: A person walks past a Microsoft sign at its office building in Beijing

(Reuters) - Microsoft intends to offer Apple's iOS-based devices to its employees in China to access authentication apps, a company spokesperson said on Monday, citing absence of Google's Android services in the country.

Microsoft has been under increased scrutiny after a series of security breaches, the latest being that of Russian hackers who spied and accessed emails of the company's employees and customers earlier this year.

The development was first reported by Bloomberg News, which, citing an internal memo, said the Windows OS-maker instructed its employees in China to use Apple devices at workplace from September.

As a part of Microsoft's global Secure Future Initiative, the move to switch to iOS-devices stems from the lack of availability of Google Play Store in China that limits its employees' access to security apps such as Microsoft Authenticator and Identity Pass, the report added.

"Due to the lack of availability of Google Mobile Services in this region, we look to offer employees a means of accessing these required apps, such as an iOS device," a company spokesperson told Reuters in an email.

Microsoft is among those U.S. companies that have a strong presence in China. It entered the Chinese market in 1992 and also operates a large research and development center in the country.

The company will provide iPhone 15 models to employees, currently using Android handsets across China, including Hong Kong, the Bloomberg report said.

(Reporting by Priyanka.G in Bengaluru; Editing by Mohammed Safi Shamsi)