FT gives £300 tablet bonus to staff

The Financial Times will be giving staff a £300 rebate towards the cost of a iPad or other tablet.

In the first initiative of it’s kind that we know about, the FT is going to single-handedly boost the tablet market by 1,800 units, and award Steve Jobs, Samsung, and retailers everywhere an early Christmas present worth around £540,000.

The FT Group’s CEO John Ridding announced in a memo to staff, that the business will be giving each employee £300 towards the cost of an iPad or a tablet, as a recognition of the FT’s improved performance. But what he gives with one hand he takes with another. The email also slyly makes reference to the tablets ability to “facilitate working while travelling, which is an increasing feature of our global organisation.” so it’s obvious that he doesn’t expect everyone to be playing games on them while they’re travelling on FT duty.

John Ridding’s memo says;

“I’m pleased to let you know that we are launching today a new initiative that will allow FT staff to claim a £300 (€350/ US$480) subsidy for the purchase of a personal iPad or tablet. This will run from today until 30th June 2011.

The FT is making this investment because digital channels and tablet devices are becoming increasingly important for us and the media industry in general, and as recognition of your contribution to our strong performance this year.

The FT has set the pace among global media organisations for tablet editions, winning a prestigious award from Apple for our iPad app. We have also been a launch partner with Samsung on the Galaxy Tab.

We have seen rapid growth in readership on these new devices, which support and extend our “channel neutral” strategy. Given their importance and the wave of innovation that we are seeing in applications and services, we want to encourage all our staff to be expert and experienced in using them.

We need to fully understand their potential and share the user experience to better understand our customers and the developments and innovations taking place in the market.  Tablet devices will also facilitate working while travelling, which is an increasing feature of our global organisation.

The subsidy scheme will be combined with a series of masterclasses and workshops to help staff get the most from their devices and the applications that are currently available.”

The cynical would say that this is a cunning way of bringing in new working practices by the back door, a sort of sugar-coated boxing glove, the even more cynical would say this is also a cunning way of boosting usage of the FTs iPad app and their new Galaxy Tab app. What do you think?

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