The really intriguing question about the Wall Street Journal report that one in ten Microsoft employees uses an iPhone is why was this information collated and why is it being leaked now?

Sure, the image of Steve Ballmer snatching an iPhone from an employee's hand and miming stamping on is an an amusing one. And the notion that employees are hiding iPhones in fake covers sounds like a great gag but something doesn't ring true. After all, we're talking about just 10 percent of employees accessing the phone - that's 10 percent of wealthy, high-tech, gadget-loving workforce, a large number of whom would have every reason to use the iPhone.

In fact, it's just not a big story (I'm surprised that the number of iPhone users in Microsoft is just 10 percent), so why is the Wall Street Journal writing about it? The news that 10 percent of employees use iPhones to access corporate information could only have come from one place: Microsoft itself. The WSJ story says the story came from "two people who heard the estimates from senior Microsoft executives" It doesn't say who these two people are and when these "estimates" were revealed but all fingers point to this being leaked by Microsoft itself.

The question is why? According to an article in, far from being bitter enemies, Apple and Microsoft are getting closer in order to take on a common foe: Google.While it might be over-stating it to say that Apple and Microsoft are "cosying up".

It's certainly true that the companies are closer than they've been for years. Earlier this year, there was talk of Apple using Bing as its default search engine and Microsoft has written several apps for the iPhone. As I blogged the other day, Android is making great strides in the smartphone market: it will certainly overtake Microsoft shortly and could well draw level with iPhone. The two old-stagers have discovered common cause with Google on the horizon looking to eat both their lunches.

It's not true to say that the situation is entirely manufactured. I don't doubt for a second that Steve Ballmer and senior Microsoft executives would rather the company's employees used Windows Mobile phones. I don't doubt for a second that they're annoyed that Apple has overtaken Microsoft so quickly in the smartphone space and I don't doubt that they resent seeing evidence of that success on the Redmond campus.

But I think that much of this indignation has been exaggerated for the purposes of a WSJ in an attempt to show what bitter enemies Apple and Microsoft are. While they're never going to be really close partners, they are combining when they see common purpose. And as they grow even closer together, I wonder how many more demonstrations of hostility we'll see.

Follow Maxwell on Twitter @maxcooter