Google rings the changes with staff bonus


Have you heard the one about the company that gave its employees a phone instead of the usual cash bonus? What's different is that this story is true and the company is none other than Google.

The company is replacing its traditional bonus - rumoured to be around $1,000 - with a free, unlocked Android handset for every employee.

The company, which describes the G1 handset as a "dream phone" in an explanatory email to employees, says it's had to scale back on its Christmas bonuses this year.

"Some of you will of course be wondering why we decided to change from a cash bonus to the Dream phone," the email reads.

"Here are the reasons. First, we've never developed anything like the Android software before and this represented a unique opportunity to celebrate that achievement.

"Googlers globally have been asking for the Dream phone and we're looking forward to seeing all the different things that you do with them. This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better!

"Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money.

We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present - something we could all celebrate."

Google was legally barred from shipping the phones to employees in certain countries, including China and Russia. Staff in those countries will instead receive "the cash equivalent of the phone in their December paychecks, which is about $400."

Barry Collins

Barry Collins is an experienced IT journalist who specialises in Windows, Mac, broadband and more. He's a former editor of PC Pro magazine, and has contributed to many national newspapers, magazines and websites in a career that has spanned over 20 years. You may have seen Barry as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten.