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…