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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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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.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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