In a bid to boost the adoption of devices running its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, Microsoft will reportedly pay bonuses to AT&T staff who recommend Windows Phone handsets over Apple’s iPhone and Google Android-powered devices. Paul Thurrott of WindowsITPro reports that the company will pay between $10 and $15 for each handset sold, depending on the number of devices retail staff can shift.
Microsoft plans to spend a staggering $200 million on the plan in the United States alone, according to Thurrott’s report, which will also cover the cost of staff training and “stepping up engagement with tech enthusiasts.” He also states that previous reports claiming Microsoft would spend only $100 million on marketing are “somewhat inaccurate.”
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. And on AT&T at least, Nokia is outspending Microsoft 2-to-1.
Microsoft hopes that these “incentives” for carrier retail staff will encourage them to promote Windows Phone devices a little more vigorously. At present, store staff reportedly prefer to recommend the iPhone and Android-powered devices, turning only to Windows Phone when “the customer insists on it,” according to Electronista, which notes that the scheme is a clear indication that the Windows Phone platform is failing to gain the kind of traction Microsoft had hoped for:
For Microsoft, the need to pay staff to recommend Windows Phone at all is an acknowledgment that the platform has so far failed to get traction and that neither the Microsoft nor Windows names are guarantees of success.
From a customer’s point of view, I’m not sure I like the idea of retail staff receiving bonuses for recommending certain devices. I worry that consumers will be fed the wrong information, or recommended phones that aren’t really suitable for them, simply because the representative they deal with is trying to secure a $15 bonus.
How do you feel about Microsoft’s plan?