Microsoft Is Bribing Phone Store Employees To Recommend Windows Phones Over iPhones

Microsoft Is Bribing Phone Store Employees To Recommend Windows Phones Over iPhones

You don’t need to know anything more about the state of the mobile industry than the fact that the worst mainstream smartphone OS, Android, is the number one smartphone platform by numbers, while one of the best — Windows Phone 7 — justy can’t get any momentum.

That’s a real shame, because short of iOS, WP7 is the best mobile OS out there: it’s got an innovative tile-based interface, slick hardware, and a cogent design philosophy. But not only is Windows Phone 7 not getting any traction in the market, but Microsoft is going so far now as to reportedly bribe retail store employees to recommend WP7 over Android or iPhones. Yikes.

According to Paul Thurrot, Microsoft has put together a $200MM war chest of cash to help promote Windows Phone 7, and is willing to pay store staff between $10 and $15 bounty for each Windows Phone 7 handset they sell, depending on how many units each person sells.

I really love Windows Phone 7. It’s the solid competitor with fresh ideas that Apple needs to keep iOS fresh. It’s downright sad that it’s come to this, though: Microsoft literally having to write paychecks to get people talking about it. Even sadder? I doubt that many cell phone store employees will recommend a Windows Phone over an iPhone even with the bounty.

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  • Gill Squid

    This kind of rewards for selling certain manufacturers products, happens in every industry (i.e. Tire Manufacturers like Goodyear give out all kinds of prizes and cash for selling their tires at Tire Retailers).  I wouldn’t use the term “bribe” as that is used for criminal purposes.  This doesn’t mean they’re desperate, it’s just their way of marketing.

  • Rachel Dute

    Companies do this all the time! Most of the retail jobs I’ve had run incentives like this all the time, or you get credit/points/whatever with the company when you sell their products and you can use that to purchase things from the company. Not bribery, just business as usual. Not a worthy story.

  • volodoscope

    Microsoft should really just focus and attack Android more than iOS. They have a better chance with that.

  • joewaylo

    $10 / $15 incentives eh? That’s not bad, but not cost affordable for a low-end smartphone OS. True many will get very tempted now given that XBOX Live looks a lot more like a Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8 being just around the corner will follow suit. But it doesn’t mean many users will jump bail and help the retailer employees earn their $10 extra per cellular sold.

    They’d have to sell a lot of cell phones to make their salary Around a thousand phones.

  • amiantos

    This is such a non-story, written by someone who has clearly never worked a day in retail in their lives.

  • Dimo Raychev

    People already have bad experiences with Windows Mobile and Windows in general… Not to mention that Andorid and iOS have much developed ecosystems with 3rd party apps and support. So wondering why so surprised…

  • Willaguna

    It is nice to see a fair and accurate statement regarding the functionality and aesthetic quality of the WinPhone7 screen interface. I am a die-hard Apple supporter (with good reason,) but also recognize good design when I see it. Microsoft has existed on the premise of taking the best and copying it. Here is a chance to turn the tables.

  • Steven Zahl

    The Market has Spoken…….

  • Gerry Doire

    Considering all the companies and people Microsoft has screwed over the past 25 years, it’s only fitting that they are now getting their just reward, “ignored”

  • Atienne

    I agree. Having attempted to use windows CE, windows embedded, and whatever the hell else MS churned out over the years, am I going to take a chance again. The answer is a resounding NO. Remember the ZUNE? As they say, screw me once, shame on you..Screw me twice….

  • OS2toMAC

    Buy me dinner???

  • Paul McDonough

    I agree that the Microsoft OS is a good os but I can’t agree with the opening statement of Android being a crap OS – plus the second comment of W7 being 2nd best to iOS just comes across as a Fanboy….

    I’m a OSX user and linux developer – I can agree that certain low end handsets let the Android side down but users speak for themselves – they want a GOOD os which is also priced well – welcome Android….. 

    W7 is well designed but NOT good looking for users…. its very minimal but people want flashy ….. and this is why iOS succeeds :) 

  • techgeek01

    When talking to people I know who have windows phones, they experienced the same thing.  They walked into (multiple) stores and the people pushed (you could say forced) them to Android Phones or iPhones and repeatedly pushed them in that direction. “You don’t want Windows Phones. Windows Phones are crap.” etc.  Basically they had to tell the people.  “LOOK.  We want a windows phone.  Period.  Nothing else. Just a windows phone.” After that, they walked out with a windows phone.  Everybody I know who has a windows phones love it.  Matter of fact I knew multiple people who switched from iPhones to Windows phones and think that the windows phone is a far better phone than an iPhone. (apparently their was a survey that found out that windows phone users were MORE satisfied with their devices than iPhone users)

    Basically from what I heard from everybody I know who got a windows phone, the people NEED to be bribed because they have some hatred against Windows Phone.

    That being said, my whole family will be picking up Windows Phones this summer. (waiting for a Windows 8 powered Nokia Phone)  All of our iOS devices will be thrown out and replaced with Windows Phone.  At first, I thought Windows Phone was a complete failure, but once getting familiar with it, I prefer it over any other phone out there.  And I’m not the only one.  Basically everybody I know who has a windows phone, started off hating the OS, thinking it was a flop.  But once they got familiar about it (researched, etc…) they loved the OS and wanted a Windows Phone.

  • Gary Mullinax

    Pathetic

  • Stevaroo01

    I don’t own a Windows Phone, (and based on my personal experiences with Microsoft products I am unlikely to ever own one), but from my point of view it is one of the least attractive OS’s out there. I have had Android and iPhone, and both have pro’s and con’s. But IMO, they’re both FAR better looking than WP7.

  • techgeek01

    I started on the same boat.  At first I thought it was the least attractive.  now?  I think it’s the most attractive.  Several people I know where in the same boat. It was UGLY at first, but now they LOVE the way it looks.

  • infin1023

    MS not only bribe salespeople, they also hire lots of “writes” to express how much they love their WP7…amazing !

  • Victor Healey

    I call – Microsoft Troll

    No one throws an Apple iOS device away. They can be often sold used for more than  you paid for them, the demand is that great. Hopelessly out dated iPhone 1 can be repurposed as a game device instead of using it as a smartphone.

    If you were truly so clueless to not be fully aware of that then why would anyone suspect you knew anything useful about a Windows phone?

  • Howie Isaacks

    If Windows Phone can’t stand on its own without this kind of help, it deserves to fail.

  • Un_FollowMe

    Ummmm! Can you kindly throw ALL your iPhones my way? Even if you throw it at my face, i wont be upset, i’ll just take it, smile, and even say THANKY YOU! 

  • vistarox

    Your headline is outrageous. The headline makes it seem like no other companies “bribe” retail employees to recommend one platform over another. Its actually a very common practice, especially in the technology retail area. 

  • vistarox

    When did they hire any writes?

  • vistarox

    WP7 doesn’t have higher customer satisfaction then iOS. However, satisfaction is far higher then Android. 

  • vistarox

    I call – Apple fanboy

  • Guest

    I guess the author was born yesterday.

  • chimpthedestroyer

    iOS flashy? Really? I like it because it’s reliable and well supported, it hasn’t changed it’s look ever! And anyway iOS is html5 not flashy :)

  • Guest

    I don’t want to be as dumb as you, but I comment how much I like the Windows phone without even owing one. Yet hoping Microsoft will give me one.

  • Guest

    MS is not that cheap small company to easily quit like you.

  • Guest

    Let me throw mine to you(face), if you don’t mind. Don’t have to thank me.

  • Alec Moore

    I think if you get your hands on one, you will change your mind. Personal experience.

  • Alec Moore

    You do realize what the title of this website is, do you?

  • vistarox

    Good point

  • buyrihn_the_amazing

    Yeah, they’re called “spiffs”, in sales parlance. And I sincerely hope MS is successful in their push for more market adoption—WP7 is the best mobile OS out there, IMHO. I’ve used Android, have an iPhone 4S, and had a WP7 device for a month before the iOS one. For me, WP7 is the best one out there, because it works the way I work. When I’m out and about, I frequently want to know “what there is to do” around where I am. When I get directions, I want to know that if “you pass Riverdale Street, you’ve gone too far”. I like being able to have separate mail boxes, as well as all-in-one boxes. And the Metro UI makes iOS’s look like Windows 98.

  • Jonatan Ramirez

    I will add my comments to what alec and techgeek mentioned…i used to be an iphone4 heavy user, got a bit bored of having app after app added on my screens.. decided to try a wp7.5 and ended putting my iphone on sale and kept my wp. not only works great it looks great while integrates facebook, twitter, messenger, but provides me with great music streaming service along with my game console integration.

    I know it is not perfect.. but provides me with what i need in a very sleek look that attracts stares everytime i pull it out of my pocket. !

  • Seth Chapman

    The only thing holding Windows Phone 7 back is the name “Windows”. It’s a put-off to a lot of people, and implies the phone is likely overly-complicated and difficult to use.

    I’ve used a Zune before, and played around with a co-workers’ WP7. It’s really smooth, easy to find everything….it’s a really solid experience. I definitely agree that, in terms of usability, it’s the #2 OS (behind iOS). Shame that they’re not more popular than they are.

  • crosswired

    Not surprising. They’ve engaged in strong-arm tactics and bribery for years in the PC market. They’ve even got sued multiple times for it. 

  • Dave

    The should give the customer $300 for every windoze phone sold. I still would not buy one.

  • FUS3360

    android does this and has been doing it forever..

  • FUS3360

    Some of these people are a little to immature when it comes to business.  All businesses do this.. 

  • FUS3360

    what many people don’t understand is that it is the things we pin to the start screen that customizes the phone..

  • FUS3360

    once you log into all your accounts and social networks, the integration is seamless… thats when Windows phone comes to life..

  • FUS3360

    Thank you!!!!  Finally someone who understands business.. 

  • Mark Firemoon

    According to Amazon customer surveys, you are wrong my friend.

  • Mark Firemoon

    It will give WP7 an equal footing in the store, instead of having the salesperson flog whatever product their fanboys for, neglecting the customer’s needs.

  • Mark Firemoon

    Microsoft will need to use the Android revenues they’re getting to form a WP7 promo fund to pay for this. 

  • vistarox

    Amazon doesn’t sell the iPhone

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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