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Microsoft Bribes Retail Employees to Recommend Windows Phone 7 Devices

Microsoft Bribes Retail Employees to Recommend Windows Phone 7 Devices

While the smartphone market is currently dominated by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, a third significant platform backed by Microsoft, Windows Phone 7, has failed to gain traction.

This is unfortunate for many reasons – Windows Phone 7 is actually pretty good, and in using and comparing various smartphones over time, I actually find myself preferring it over Android (though I still prefer iOS at the end of the day).

Microsoft isn’t just standing by to watch their platform dwindle, however. Electronista points out a report by Windows-centric writer Paul Thurrot, Microsoft is willing to go to such lengths as bribing retail employees to up-sell Windows Phone 7 devices and recommend them over Android devices or iPhones in a marketing move costing over $200 million:

According to the internal Microsoft documentation I’ve viewed, the total cost of this marketing tsunami is in the neighborhood of $200 million, not $100 million. And again, that’s just for the United States […] Included in the plan are sales incentives for retail workers, aimed at getting them to finally start recommending Windows Phone as an alternative to Android and iPhone. The amount of payments are $10 to $15 per handset sold, depending on the number sold, for some handset models.

Wow. That’s a pretty ballsy move coming from Microsoft and Nokia, and in reality it doesn’t quite seem fair – is bribing retail employees to up-sell your product going too far?

I think Windows Phone 7 is a promising platform, but it’s sad that it’s come to bribing retail employees to get their platform to gain traction. You know something is wrong when you have to pay people off to get them ‘excited’ about your product…

  1. Comment says:

    In addition, they’ve been giving retail employees free devices…upwards of 3 or more per store

  2. Bob smith says:

    You make it seem like this is the first time this has happend lol… Companies do this all the time… Sony Ericsson and Samsung are the worst for it. They always have incentives running that reward the employee with money if they sell their phones. Microsoft is just trying to level the playing field… Though I doubt it will work :/

  3. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t that what a spiff is?  This has been going on forever and everyone does it. 

    1. John Wilkes says:

      That is correct, the author obviously knows nothing about phone retail

    2. aik•wae says:

      author knows nothing ovet IT world

  4. Joseph says:

    Pharmaceutical reps have been practicing this type of behavior for ages to get doctors to prescribe their brand of medication over others even if the medication wasn’t as effective or expensive as all hell.

    Same thing went on in the music industry when record label reps would bribe or give favors (i.e. “payola”) to disc jockeys to play a certain record the company was pushing.

    If Microsoft wants to spend millions in incentives to employees to up-sell their phones, I say let them. Unless Apple or Google are concerned that people might actually prefer Windows Phone over theirs…

  5. patsan says:

    It’s not going too far if it’s a risk they’re willing to take. And I don’t think it’s called bribing, I think it’s just receiving a commission for every unit sold

  6. JG says:

    Not surprising at all really.  MS is ass out in the mobile phone market and they know it.  This is another attempt by MS to bump up another failed product and I suspect it will fail miserably.  MS needs to realize they aren’t going to be the technology over lords they always envisioned themselves as.  It didn’t happen in the past and it won’t happen in the future and there is nothing wrong with that.  The problem comes when these desperation moves come to light and just makes their position in any market look tenuous at best.

  7. Retail Professional says:

    I have been in retail channel sales all my life, and this is how we sell ALL PHONES. Clearly, you don’t understand the amounts of money a retail professional makes behind a Android sale  🙂  hint Mobile operators is a $3 trillion business.

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