The man in charge of Windows Phone has been forced to defend himself after getting caught on Twitter posting with an iPhone. Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft's operating systems group, was spotted uploading a photo from his vacation in Japan on Tuesday from the Twitter for iPhone app. Belfiore quickly jumped online to justify why he was using a phone that former CEO Steve Ballmer used to pretend to stamp on.

"On a 9-month leave-of-absence, I have a HUGE AND UNUSUAL opportunity to get to know these products deeply," Belfiore wrote in the Verge's comment section. "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."

Belfiore justified his actions by saying he needed to use iOS to properly understand what Microsoft's target audience wants. "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," he said.

Although Belfiore may find himself in a tricky position, the mood at Microsoft is a far cry from what it was six years ago. Back then, the WSJ reported that Ballmer and COO Kevin Turner balked at the idea of employees learning about competing smartphones by using them. "What's good for the field is good for Redmond," Turner told employees.

The company has slowly shifted toward seeing Apple as a host for its software and services. In September 2015, Microsoft employees took to the stage at the iPad Pro launch event to demonstrate Apple's new tablet. Kirk Koenigsbauer, vice president of Office, showed how well the productivity suite worked on a product seen as a direct competitor to the Surface Pro.