Thursday, 25 Dec, 2008 Current Events

No Cash Bonus for Google Staff on Christmas


It seems like the economic crisis has recently knocked on the door of number one search engine Google that decided to give its staff a version of the G1 instead of the traditional $1,000, which the company's workers receive on Christmas. The G1 is a mobile phone meant to rival Apple's iPhone.

The company's officials, in an e-mail message to the staff, wrote the following: "The holiday bonus is a Google tradition - it's a great way to thank everyone for their hard work. In the past, we've done this in cash. This year, we've decided to give Googlers a different kind of present - a Dream phone."

The cell phone runs on Google own operating system, called Android. It was officially launched for sale in October. The tech website, The Register, described the device as "an unattractive and uninspiring piece of plastic." The message to the Google staff calls employees to "dogfood" the mobile, which means to test the gadget in-house.

"Some of you will of course be wondering why we decided to change from a cash bonus to the Dream phone," the message reads. Then comes the explanation, in which Google officials wrote: "Googlers globally have been asking for the Dream phone and we're looking forward to seeing all the things that you do with them. This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!"

But the actual reason for giving the G1 to the staff instead of the usual cash bonus was stated a bit lower in the e-mail: "Second, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money."

Certainly in a company like Google, a Christmas message from the officials has to end on a positive note. Thus the e-mail read: "Thank you for all that you do to make Google the company that it is. We hope that you will enjoy using your Dream phone in 2009 and have a very happy holiday!"

All of the Google's permanent employees, who work in United States, Western and Central Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Japan, covering around 85 percent of the company's 20,123 staff worldwide will receive the mobile phone. In its message, Google explains that for legal reasons its device will not be shipped to other parts of the globe, where Googlers will get $400 instead of G1.

The problems with cash bonus are not the only issues at Google. This year the company decided to close several restaurants on its campus. The credit crunch had a great impact on Google's fellow residents. As consumers try to spend less, the companies face a decrease in sales. Due to the high cost for credit, companies try to cut back on IT spending. But Google is far from being critically hit by the crisis since during 2008 it registered a turnover of more than $21 billion.

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