Microsoft’s (MSFT) cost-cutting measures drove it to lay off thousands of employees. As expected, it also led to some perks being discontinued for its remaining employees.
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For instance, Microsoft won’t pay for its employees’ Apple (AAPL) iPhone data service plans anymore, even if they’re used significantly for work purposes. Nor will it pay for Research In Motion (RIMM) BlackBerry service, or a new Palm Pre. Instead, it will only reimburse data plans for Microsoft Windows Mobile-powered smartphones.
That’s not particularly alarming: Many companies have never reimbursed employees for personally owned devices. And some relevant divisions will be able to keep the status quo. For example, we’ve heard that Razorfish — the ad agency Microsoft owns — is still paying for any mobile plan/carrier/platform.
But for many Microsoft employees who use their devices to do company work on the road, it no doubt feels like a shafting. Compared to the iPhone, new BlackBerry software, or even Google (GOOG) Android, today’s Windows Mobile is clunky and unappealing. New, less-crappy editions are on the way, but that doesn’t help today.
A Microsoft rep confirms that data plan reimbursement “is limited to Windows Mobile devices.” They add: “This policy took effect as part of the broader cost saving measures announced earlier this year.”