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Microsoft will only cover data plans for Windows-based mobile phones

Technology firms are notorious for some of the perks they offer to retain employees. Google is perhaps the most notorious giver of perks with gourmet lunches and swimming spas to keep its working masses happy.

Google has found more recently that its perks can’t keep some of its most important people from leaving. Microsoft is another of the big firms that offers perks that many employees have now taken for granted. With the tough global economy, Microsoft has been shedding employees as it shores up its finances to weather the economic storm.

BusinessInsider reports that one of the benefits that Microsoft employees have enjoyed over the years is being dropped. Microsoft has implemented a new policy that will no longer pay for employees’ mobile phones and data plans, even when used extensively for work, if the mobile phone runs on anything other than Windows Mobile.

That means that Microsoft workers that previously had their BlackBerry or iPhone plans covered will now have to pay on their own. Some Microsoft-owned firms will continue to get other devices paid for though. Razorfish (an advertising agency owned by Microsoft) employees will reportedly still get data plans paid for on any device.

BusinessInsider reports that a Microsoft rep has confirmed the change and said, "[Reimbursement] is limited to Windows Mobile devices. This policy took effect as part of the broader cost saving measures announced earlier this year."

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I See No Problem With This
By clarkey01 on 6/15/2009 11:18:14 AM , Rating: 5
End of

RE: I See No Problem With This
By Screwballl on 6/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: I See No Problem With This
By WW102 on 6/15/2009 12:18:02 PM , Rating: 5
The point shouldnt be how much they make and if they can afford it. The only real consideration should be if having the phone for work adds value to the company. But to clear it up and make it simple Microsoft should be issuing phones and not expensing phones. That way they have complete control over phone model and data plan.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By mikefarinha on 6/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: I See No Problem With This
By William Gaatjes on 6/15/2009 2:07:51 PM , Rating: 5
I disagree with you.

A company phone is work related. Not for home use.
And the choice of the phonemodel can be linked to the type of work you do.

It is the same as traveling expenses. Next thing you know, people want fuel for non work related trips.

And that windows mobile only is allowed, nothing wrong with that. It will make them see the designflaws faster by in house use. And that way it is easier to design a future hardware/software combo that delivers the best experience. The apple way so to say.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By retrospooty on 6/15/2009 2:27:30 PM , Rating: 5
Yup... you gotta eat your own dogfood.

How ugly is it if an MS employee shows up at a business meeting with a BB or iPhone. If I were MS management, I would only pay for winmobile phones. Same if I were Apple or Palm, or any company.

You want your own phone, fine - you want the company to pay for it? Use our products.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By TomZ on 6/15/2009 2:32:36 PM , Rating: 3
I agree - if MS products are not good enough for MS employees, then they should improve them so they are, or else exit that particular market.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By segerstein on 6/15/2009 5:34:41 PM , Rating: 2
Newer HTC models and SE Xperia are good phones.

Unless there is a work related killer app not available on WM, the company should promote its own wares.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By jconan on 6/15/2009 2:40:02 PM , Rating: 2
That was Google's policy with the development of android and also that's why android is getting better.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By TomZ on 6/15/2009 2:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
Are all Google employees required to use Android-powered phones? I doubt it.

I'm sure the devs working on Windows Mobile are all using it daily. It would be silly if they weren't. The question is - what about the rest of the organization?

RE: I See No Problem With This
By Alexvrb on 6/15/2009 6:50:36 PM , Rating: 3
Are all Google employees required to use Android-powered phones? I doubt it.
Are all Microsoft employees required to use WM-powered phones? No. Did you read the article? Or the post to which jconan was replying? Neither of those implied that MS or Google employees were required to do so. Merely encouraged, especially for business purposes.

I'd have much rather recieved the $400 cash, if I was them. But as the article points out, I'm sure ebay helped out quite a few googlers.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By retrospooty on 6/16/2009 9:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
The question is - Are all Google employees with company paid phones required to use Android-powered phones? I doubt it.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By Souka on 6/15/2009 4:39:53 PM , Rating: 1
Better yet, MS employees should only be allowed to get work email on Windows devices only... even if they pay for their own non-windows device plan, email can only be sent to Windows deviecs.

And yes this can be controlled and enforced.

It's a perk..not a right...

My $.02

By inperfectdarkness on 6/15/2009 11:40:37 PM , Rating: 2
I've never heard of GM offering discounts/subsidies on Fords, either.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By Darkk on 6/17/2009 1:59:53 AM , Rating: 3
It'll backfire on Microsoft. Here is why. Employees with personal phones and plans will be reluntant to answer or make calls even it's for business. Simply because itemizing the bills are pain in the butt to get reimbursed. So in most cases those employees will be harder to reach on their personal phones.

I don't mind receiving calls on my personal phone ONCE in awhile but not 10 times a day. Nope. I told my boss that I will NOT answer those calls unless the company is willing to pay a portion of my cell bill. Easier just to ignore the calls since the they don't have a leg to stand on employee's personal items. I will, however, answer when my boss calls me... obviously.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By callmeroy on 6/17/2009 8:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
I have two cell phones one is given by work (blackberry) and one is my craptastic 5 year old LG flip phone that has no fancy bells or whistles of "modern" phones...(that was not really my point but I just wanted to explain my crappy phone for some --- I resolve the issue you explain, as I too get peeved when work uses my private cell phone, by stating my cell phone number is for emergency contact purposes only on my HR record. So far I've had no issues -- all work calls go to the work phone (as it should).

Your point is a bit more rebellious than mine though --- if you are using a phone of your liking, but not what the company policy states they will re-imburse, and its clearly a phone for work --- if you refuse to answer work related calls I simply can not see how any employer in the US does NOT have the grounds to simply fire you, I also woulnd't know a judge who wouldn't support that reason for termination either.

The difference is with Microsoft they are clearly stating "if you get xyz type of phone --- we'll cover you, if not we won't"....the court would simply go on the theory of you were well aware of the policy and the options you had, but you ignored them and then refused to use the phone for work.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By jconan on 6/15/2009 2:37:37 PM , Rating: 3
unless you're using the phone for business purposes. a lot of people with company phones use them for non-company business like texting, surfing the net for sales, videos, and etc. a company shouldn't have to pay for the non-business aspects...

back then in the dot com era everything was allowable because of the nascent development of phone technology. however knowing where technology leads to can present more liabilities than it is worth.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By invidious on 6/15/2009 3:17:11 PM , Rating: 2
What do you mean "these people"? You honestly think that the DT community isn't made up in a large part by "these people"? If you think tech careers are over paid then go get a tech degree.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By rs1 on 6/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: I See No Problem With This
By Fanon on 6/15/2009 11:47:36 AM , Rating: 3
I agree. I don't see how they can enforce it with providers like AT&T, unless AT&T provides Microsoft with detailed information on what phone the employee used. Take SIM card out of Windows-based phone, place SIM card in Blackberry or iPhone.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By SunAngel on 6/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: I See No Problem With This
By monomer on 6/15/2009 12:58:13 PM , Rating: 3
Errmm, I'd imagine that if MS is paying the bill, they probably received some type of paperwork saying the make of phone to approve the charges.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By TomZ on 6/15/2009 2:18:06 PM , Rating: 3
I doubt it, but on the other hand, I'm sure it is best to avoid the uncomfortable meeting with your boss where he/she figures out you've been lying for the past year about the brand of cell phone you've been expensing.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By jimbojimbo on 6/15/2009 4:06:59 PM , Rating: 2
They use Exchange and it will report what phone you are using to synch with your mailbox if you're using ActiveSync. If you're not synching at all they shouldn't be reimbursing and so on. Really quite easy to keep track.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By SuperFly03 on 6/15/2009 11:55:02 AM , Rating: 4
I agree.

Nothing really shocking here. This isn't that big of a loss. Welcome to the real world, paying for your own cell phone bill.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By monomer on 6/15/2009 12:55:39 PM , Rating: 2
The problem I see is that some people locked themselves into a 2 year contract, which they were assured would be paid for by their company.

I can see MS implementing this on all new plans, so that employees don't buy new iPhones from now on, but to take away this benefit for only some employees is pretty bad practice.

RE: I See No Problem With This
By SuperFly03 on 6/15/2009 2:43:24 PM , Rating: 2
For all major carriers you are allowed to modify your phone plan at any point in the contract without renewing the agreement. So if you can't afford it or don't want it you can drop the data package whenever.

No real loss to the employee except a pro-rata charge for one month.

By deltadeltadelta on 6/15/2009 2:56:17 PM , Rating: 2
This is pure speculation, but I would imagine they will grandfather people in. I would think they simply will not renew when someone's contract is up (unless they go for a Windows Mobile device).

RE: I See No Problem With This
By omnicronx on 6/15/2009 1:33:36 PM , Rating: 3
Is everyone in here article skimming? They are not making their employees pay for their entire cell phone bill, just the data plans if they don't have a Windows Mobile phone. They probably have a deal with their providers, making little sense to pay normal rates for other devices. And lets face it, the amount of bandwidth people actually need for work is nothing compared to the plans that these people probably have. Most phones only download email headers and not even the entire message or attachment unless specified, so I don't see how the average person needs more than 50M per month, if that for work email use. Otherwise neither BB or the Iphone have a suitable office editor/viewer (really neither does winMo for that matter, although its better than both its competitors), so what exactly do you need the bandwidth for?

Browsing the net is not a requirement in the workplace, (although many people somehow think it is) sometimes I really wonder how people got things done as little as 5 years ago =P

RE: I See No Problem With This
By SuperFly03 on 6/15/2009 2:47:32 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the catch: there is only an unlimited data plan. When you look at the plans you can't buy 50MB/mo or 100MB/mo the data is either on or off.

I do agree with your point though and do realize M$ is only paying the data package but that's another $40/mo.

On my phone I actually download full emails, view attachments and use GPS/internet for work. Granted it's usually finding my way to a new client or hunting down an oil rig or finding somewhere for lunch out of town but still very necessary activity.

Yes, I pay 100% of my own cell bill. :)

RE: I See No Problem With This
By omnicronx on 6/15/2009 3:10:29 PM , Rating: 2
On my phone I actually download full emails, view attachments and use GPS/internet for work. Granted it's usually finding my way to a new client or hunting down an oil rig or finding somewhere for lunch out of town but still very necessary activity.
Of course there will be exceptions, but for the majority of MS employees they do not need the all of these features on a daily basis.

From the sounds of it, you need a data package to perform day to day business, not too many office dwellers can make the same case ;)

'Hmm I wonder why the closest vending machine is.. I'll just startup my GPS and I will be on my way' ;)

RE: I See No Problem With This
By SuperFly03 on 6/16/2009 1:13:23 AM , Rating: 2

I don't disagree but there are some that live on the data package. A man's gotta eat ya know? :p

By tirminyl on 6/15/2009 11:41:38 AM , Rating: 5
Not similar to the story but my ex-company for some reason saw fit to not give me a mobile device even though I was contacted extensively on my personal mobile phone. Management deemed it not worthy for me to have a company paid Blackberry therefore, I deemed it not important enough to answer my personal mobile phone when co-workers OR my boss called.

While it is certainly a perk, they should offer a WMobile device to those they will no longer support. If I used my iPhone extensively for work and Microsoft decided not to pay for it any longer without offering me a supported device to use for work I would certainly understand their reasoning and hopefully they would understand why I will no longer be reachable outside of the office.

Note: While it may seem immature to act as I did I have no issues answering a call for work BUT when 1 random call a month turns into multiple calls per week with a minimum of 15 minute talk time, I have a problem with that.

RE: re
By Cheesew1z69 on 6/15/2009 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see an issue with what you did at all, if they expect you to answer your PERSONAL phone, and would not supply you with a company provided phone, I don't blame you at all.

RE: re
By noxipoo on 6/15/2009 12:14:28 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, if work calls me constantly and does not pay for it, I will not answer.

RE: re
By TheSpaniard on 6/15/2009 12:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
you should never be contacted for work related issues on your personal phone.

if they need to contact you, email is what they get. if they want instant access to you they pay for it. ask my PI about that... :P

RE: re
By Helbore on 6/15/2009 2:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
I also see nothing wrong with what you did. If the business deems it "not worth the expense" to pay for a work phone for you, then obviously they don't think contacting you out-of-the-office is that important.

Its typical business penny-pinching. They want you to be always available to them, at your expense. Some companies seem to forget that they are in a contract with employees, as opposed to owning their soul!

RE: re
By TomZ on 6/15/2009 2:38:25 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously not a "team player," LOL.

WinMo Gets Better?
By bldckstark on 6/15/09, Rating: 0
RE: WinMo Gets Better?
By Helbore on 6/15/2009 2:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
I think you probably just desribed Windows Mobile 7.

Now if only Microsoft could shift it out of the FUD and onto real handsets!

No insult to MS, btw. I still use WinMo phones and am happy to do so...but only because I've got a Touch Diamond and have TouchFlo 3D covering up the UI nightmare underneath! WinMo is long overdue an overhaul and personally, WM6.5 is just not enough.

We've been waiting for WM7 for way too long now. It damned well better be amazing, considering how much time has been spent on it. Stangely enough, however, I actually think it will be.

I just hope I'm stil alive by the time they release it!

RE: WinMo Gets Better?
By TomZ on 6/15/2009 2:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
It seems like this is common knowledge, but nobody gets it right.
Not sure why you got downrated, but I think you're right about that. Customer expectations of smartphones these days is pretty high, but they are basically very easy to understand. But it seems like most cell phone makers and service carriers don't get it.

Even Apple - supposedly the one company that does "get it" - probably is only delivering 1/2 to 2/3 of what people really want in a device. Others are pathetically delivering even less.

To me, a smartphone is a 2-year commitment to a new device that I would use daily, and what I see out there is mostly crap, and so instead I avoid the whole mess an use a plain cell phone. I would guess there are lots like me doing the same.

RE: WinMo Gets Better?
By ET on 6/16/2009 1:43:01 AM , Rating: 2
My thought exactly. Though frankly I hope that the Windows Mobile team is also using other phones, so they have some idea how things can be done better.

Just a thought
By judasmachine on 6/15/2009 11:18:35 AM , Rating: 2
But could it be that MS is working on it's own smartphone? IIRC, they shot that rumor down a while back.

RE: Just a thought
By Fanon on 6/15/2009 11:42:40 AM , Rating: 2
They also said no new version of IE, and here we are with two new versions since that statement.

By AlvinCool on 6/15/09, Rating: 0
By omnicronx on 6/15/2009 1:20:21 PM , Rating: 2
WM7 isnt coming out for more than a year and a half, and I'm not too sure it has even reached Alpha stages yet, so I really doubt this has anything to do with it. WM6.5 has not even reached an RTM build for that matter (well that we know of), this is what you will be seeing on devices this fall.

By AlvinCool on 6/15/2009 3:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
My apologies, I was sure that Microsoft had already announced that WM6.5 was completely finished and there would be no further work on it. I believe that was in an article published on this site.

That being said why wouldn't they now be working on Win7 which I thought has been said would be out early next year. I also believe that HTC made several statements recently offering models of phones coming out in Q1 of 2010 based on WM7.

Business as usual
By kierva on 6/15/2009 2:22:51 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not an avid MicroSoft supporter... however, the article above appears to be much more of a business move...

The IRS released last week a Notice regarding taxing employee cell phone use as a "fringe benefit".,,id=209572,... For MicroSoft, I imagine, it would be potentially easier to clasify all of those plans as research and development (R&D) on their mobile operating system.

Coincidentally, Obama has also proposed an increased tax credit for companies that keep R&D in the United States.

Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to explain to the IRS how paying for a competitor's operating system is R&D.

RE: Business as usual
By jconan on 6/15/2009 2:47:38 PM , Rating: 2
that is if they are reverse engineering or putting up specs why their phone is better than the competitors... then only one of the competitors phone is needed and not a trunk load.

Tweak your WinMo to make it faster
By InternetGeek on 6/15/2009 11:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Just recently I started using an HTC Touch Pro. I gave it to my wife as a gift, she didn't quite like it because it was 'slow' so I gave her a Nokia E71. She loves it and I finally got a WinMo. After a few days I understood her complains and took it upon myself to play with the phone.

First thing I found out is that 6.1 phones are not using the newest .NET 3.5 framework. Many have it installed but most programs are targetting the old .Net 2.0 Framework. To install it you need to connect your phone and run the .NET3.5CF installed. The installed will detect the phone and give you the option to deploy the framework. Then you need to use a program called NETCFG (copy it to the phone) and configure the phone's policy so all programs use the newer framework. This made the phone work faster.

The next thing was to download a tool called Advanced Config and increase the buffers and caches. This made the phone fly. It is really nice to use now.

I then found out that most makers use old version of drivers for their phone, which kinda rings a bell on what laptop makers do...

However, it's odd that most of these phones have the power to work so much better but makers don't configure WinMo to take advantage of the hardware as much as it can. Kinda rings a bell in general doesn't it?

Check for most stuff, however, I would recommend trying one of the WinMo 6.5 Roms. In the case of HTC you could get over the TouchFlo3d interface and if you use WinMo 6.5 you will find it is not even necessary because the design is way better...

By SuperFly03 on 6/16/2009 1:14:47 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly why I hack every win mo phone I get my hands on :D

By sapiens74 on 6/15/2009 3:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
When will MS release a modern mobile OS?

By jimbojimbo on 6/15/2009 4:19:50 PM , Rating: 2
They're finally going to be releasing some really promising WinMobile phones in the next several months, the HTC TouchPro2 and the Samsung Omnia. Both finally have processors and enough memory to make WinMo worthwhile. I personally can't wait for one of these as a full keyboard is a requirement for the things I do and the iPhone's been pissing me off.

It's just an amazing shame that they never released the HTC TouchHD in the states. WTF?

By Lastfreethinker on 6/15/2009 5:55:17 PM , Rating: 2
If I am using my PERSONAL phone and data plan, then don't expect me to use it for work.

By aidanw75 on 6/15/2009 7:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is a bit unfair: They expect their employees to copy these products (see the Zune HD for an example) but are too cheap to pay for them. They should write it off as R&D

How it should be
By PitbulI on 6/16/2009 7:55:54 AM , Rating: 2
If my company paid for my data phone, I would use whatever I was told I could use. It's a work phone.

Well i guess on the upside...
By xphile on 6/21/2009 11:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
There is be less and less Microsoft employees getting Rimmed, no wait...

By androticus on 6/15/2009 9:29:36 PM , Rating: 1
Lame and stupid. The only result will be to piss off the employees -- they should either drop it for all devices or leave it as is -- it is not that likely to sway individual employees to buy a device they don't want, so it will just create envy and discord.

Wrong approach
By vkat on 6/15/09, Rating: -1
RE: Wrong approach
By Bonrock on 6/15/2009 12:26:39 PM , Rating: 3
While I agree with you that Microsoft should focus on making Windows Mobile into a better product, it's simply not the case that Microsoft is forcing their employees to use Windows Mobile. They're just saying they won't pay for employees to use a competitor's products--and that sounds pretty fair to me.

RE: Wrong approach
By hduser on 6/15/2009 1:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of forcing employees to use their product, MS should make products that every body would love to use. It is sign that MS has lost its mobile market and has accepted it.

I think it's the right approach. Forcing them to use Windows Smartphone automatically show them how bad their approach to Smartphone is. I've used a Windows Mobile product for a while now, while serviceable, it's the most unfriendly and frustrating to use. I think a bunch of MS employees bitching about how bad their Windows Mobile devices carries more weight than consumers bitching about their Windows Mobile devices.

RE: Wrong approach
By vkat on 6/15/2009 2:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
MS has been doing WinMo for quiet some time. Until WinMo 7 , they did not support Multi-touch which Apple and other had it for quiet some time. This makes me to think that the MS does not have real innovativeness. Unless the MS employees use other products like (iPhone or G1 etc), they will not know such technology exist.

I am assuming that there are bunch of MS employees using WinMo based phones for a while and their comments (or lack of) does not seem to make any difference.

MS is just copying or adopting pre-existing technologies (esp on Mobile space). Where is their innovation? Instead of innovating new technologies, they are wasting time in thinking of how to increase their customer base by forcing it.

There are two ways to make their employees (or public) in general use their product (make a cool product or force it down the throat). Which is better?

RE: Wrong approach
By hduser on 6/15/2009 11:46:56 PM , Rating: 2
I've used 4 versions of windows mobile. Innovation has been few and far between. I'm using an iphone now. It's not perfect but it's innovative and does more of the things I like to do(music/video/games and the apps). Windows mobile stagnated for the last 4 years.

If MS going to force their own product on their own employees, it's their call. If MS won't respond to input from consumers or their own employees, then they deserve what they'll get.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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