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Even Google is cutting bonus cash this year

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The stock price may be down and the growth is slowing but the halls are still flowing with profit. Obviously nobody enjoys cuts but this is still more proof that the Wall Street bonuses are wrong in so many ways.

This year, instead of the usual $1,000 present to plump up the festive pay cheque, Google is giving all its employees a version of the G1, the mobile phone it released this year to compete with Apple's iPhone.

In an internal e-mail, the company told staff: “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 mobile, which runs on Android, Google's own mobile operating system, went on sale in October to tepid reviews. It was dubbed by The Register, the tech website, as “an unattractive and uninspiring piece of plastic”.

The e-mail calls on “Googlers”, as staff are called, to “dogfood” the phone - an industry term meaning to test it in-house. “Some of you will of course be wondering why we decided to change from a cash bonus to the Dream phone,” the e-mail reads.

It continues: “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!”

The company, which had previously revealed that it was considering plans to trim its contract staff, did admit to other, baser reasons, for the switch. “Second, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money.”

The e-mail does not dwell on negatives and goes on to finish on an upbeat note: “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!”

The customised G1 devices will be given to all permanent Google employees in the United States, Western and Central Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore and Japan, covering about 85 per cent of its 20,123 global staff.

However, the e-mail explains that for legal reasons the G1 cannot be shipped to other parts of the world, so Googlers elsewhere will receive $400 instead.

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