Google's Homer gift - the Android phone

Bambi Francisco Roizen · December 23, 2008 · Short URL:

It's not a bad bonus; it's just not cash

 Google, whose share price has been slashed by more than half this year - along with most other stocks, has decided to go lean on the Christmas bonuses. This Christmas, Googlers will receive a $179.99 T-Mobile phone, running on the Android operating system.

Now, that may sound like a nice gift, if you worked at a small startup. But some Googlers have received cash bonuses of up to $20,000 to $30,000. The so-called Dream phone as a bonus is as useful to some as free gift cards for unlimited Google searches.

Is it a sign of the times? Or a sign that Google wants to jumpstart its own mobile phone efforts. Probably both. The phone accomplishes two missions. In many ways, however, it's like a Homer gift. Homer (in The Simpsons) has a tendency to give his wife Marge a gift that benefits him.

Here's what Googlers received in a memo, according to Gawker:

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

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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