Buying Love

Greg Kumparak at AOL/TechCrunch, regarding the news that Microsoft will be offering $10-$15 bounties to retail salespeople to push Windows Phones:

In turn, John Gruber asks: “If this strategy was on the table, why didn’t Microsoft start this a year ago?

Here’s why: because it’s an admission of failure.

Microsoft’s obstacle isn’t an easy one. When people walk into a phone store in search of a new smartphone, the sales dude generally offers up two choices: iPhone or Android. Meanwhile, the only people being handed Windows Phones are the ones who asked for them right off the bat.

Now, why is this? Is it because Apple and Google are coughing up piles of cash to get the sales reps to push their phones? Nope — while carriers and specific OEMs might offer spiffs for the sales of certain handsets, I can’t find evidence that Apple or Google themselves ever have.

But who cares who is paying the spiffs? Saying that neither Apple nor Google pay them isn’t really a fair comparison if handset makers producing Android phones are. A better way to put it is that there are no spiffs for iPhones, but there are for Android phones. Maybe Microsoft was hoping that handset makers would do this sort of thing for them, but obviously they haven’t. What I’m saying is if they’re willing to do this now, they should have been willing to do it a year ago to gain a foothold in the market as soon as possible.

Obviously this isn’t sustainable in the long run, given that $10-$15 per phone is probably the most Microsoft could be making in licensing fees. But if they were ever willing to do it, it only makes sense to do it as early as possible.

Monday, 9 January 2012