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Microsoft hires Apple Store staff; potential employee walk-out

post #1 of 121
Thread Starter 
Software giant Microsoft is apparently also looking to lure away retail employees from Apple's own stores; and employees at a Washington Apple Store have planned a walk-out.

Microsoft courting Apple Store managers, staff

Citing anonymous sources, Jim Dalrymple at The Loop has reported that Microsoft has contacted "a number of Apple's retail store managers" in an attempt to hire them away. The employees have been promised "significant raises," and some were even offered moving expenses. The strategy also allegedly has a recruitment element to it.

"Once hired, the ex-Apple employees are then contacting some of the top sales people in the Apple retail organization offering them positions at Microsoft retail," Dalrymple wrote. "They have also been offered more money than what they made at Apple."

As Microsoft prepares to enter the retail market, it has taken a number of cues from Apple's successful brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, the Redmond, Wash., company even hired real estate expert George Blankenship, one of the cornerstones of Apple's early retail efforts, to consult on its first retail stores.

Apple's rival to the north will also mimic the Genius Bar with its own "Guru Bars," where customers would be allowed to make appointments and ask questions.

Microsoft intends to go head-to-head with Apple in the retail space. Some stores will even be purposefully located within proximity. The first face-off will take place in Mission Viejo, Calif., at The Shops.

Washington Apple Store walk-out planned by employees

Employees at the Apple Store in the Alderwood mall in Lynnwood, Wash., are apparently so upset with management that they intend to walk out in protest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3. According to someone familiar with the matter who contacted AppleInsider, it will include Mac Specialists, Geniuses and Creatives, as well as former employees of the location.

The info was also provided to ifoAppleStore, where it was noted that such an event would be the first known at an Apple Store.

On employee said that the store's "abusive" management has potentially violated the law, and alleged that Apple human resources did not conduct a complete investigation of the matter. The person said that employees talked with the corporation, including Ron Johnson, senior vice president of retail, but to no avail.
post #2 of 121
Not knowing what has, did, or was suppose to have happened - or not just remember folks, there is a VERY LONG line at the unemployment bureau

And oh yes, Apple, if you have been or are treating folks like dirt stop it and be big boys and do what's right.

Skip

PS Or is this just folks who don't like taking in all this money, and not getting more of it for themselves???
post #3 of 121
Wow...sounds like a bad apple!
sorry couldn't resist.
post #4 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

And oh yes, Apple, if you have been or are treating folks like dirt stop it and be big boys and do what's right.

I thought the employee was referring to the management of that store rather than the management of Apple, but I might be mistaken.
post #5 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Washington Apple Store walk-out planned by employees

Employees at the Apple Store in the Alderwood mall in Lynwood, Wash., are apparently so upset with management that they intend to walk out in protest at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3. According to someone familiar with the matter who contacted AppleInsider, it will include Mac Specialists, Geniuses and Creatives, as well as former employees of the location.

That's Lynnwood, not Lynwood. I visit this store a couple of times a month, and it is always crowded. I'm very interested to see what happens with this. I'll be there on the 3rd to talk with the employees and see what happens.
post #6 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rokken View Post

I thought the employee was referring to the management of that store rather than the management of Apple, but I might be mistaken.

Yes, but it also sounded like the matter was looked into by Apple's human resource department and they didn't do anything. However, we don't know anything about this. HR actions can take time to investigate and act on, if necessary. If the entire staff is walking about, there's probably something to the complaints. But this could also just be one employee leaking this news and perhaps he/she is the only one unhappy with the situation. Planning a walkout for two weeks from now seems a bit odd. Why wait?
post #7 of 121
Overall satisfaction seems pretty strong and our favorite fruit store...

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Emp...le-RVW2892.htm
post #8 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Planning a walkout for two weeks from now seems a bit odd. Why wait?

Because you don't actually want to do a walkout but you need to do something to get upper management's attention.

If I had to guess, I'd say the manager there is out of line in some way but very good at laying down a snow job on the HR people who looked into it. Employees aren't going to threaten a walkout unless there's a major problem, so something is seriously wrong at this particular store. Unless, of course, they all got hired by Microsoft who put them up to the walkout thing.
post #9 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cransy View Post

Overall satisfaction seems pretty strong and our favorite fruit store...

http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Emp...le-RVW2892.htm

AT our favorite fruit store... sheesh... I've become too dependent on the iPhone's auto correct.
post #10 of 121
How much more do they need to pay you to change your title from Genius to Reboot Monkey?

So, Microsoft is going to hire a bunch of people who are really knowledgeable about Mac and OS X and have them answer questions about Windows. Sounds like a winning plan.

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post #11 of 121
WOW...that's a pretty sleazy business practice by MS.
post #12 of 121
The Guru Bar. That's innovation.
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post #13 of 121
Breaking news, Microsoft announced a hostile takeover of Apple Inc. Now to Steve Ballmer.

"Yeaaaaa, this is greatestiest day evaaaaa. I announce Windows X: Snow Skylight, greatest version of Windows evaaaaa! It will come 1 edition only and will work right out of the box and include great software for video, music and photos."

What about Windows 7?

"Forget that $}{|t"

Thanks Steve.
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post #14 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

If I had to guess, I'd say the manager there is out of line in some way but very good at laying down a snow job on the HR people who looked into it. Employees aren't going to threaten a walkout unless there's a major problem, so something is seriously wrong at this particular store. Unless, of course, they all got hired by Microsoft who put them up to the walkout thing.

They've got iPhone 3GSs and new Nanos so I find it unusual that no one has manage to capture this manager's behavior (if that's in fact what's happening there) on video yet
post #15 of 121
Sleazy yes, but a valid business tactic. They are trying to figure out what makes the Apple Store tick and to gain some Apple talent. Unfortunately, I see this as trying to plug an A/C device into a D/C power source. They come from two different cultures. The shock may kill them

I find this whole MS store an odd curiosity. MS itself doesn't make PC's. They sell software, and the Zune. That's it. Apple on the other hand, is more hardware centric, with a smattering of software thrown in. The two don't directly compete, except on the OS front, which happens to be tied to Apple's hardware. It will be interesting to see how these stores fare.

As to the Apple Store walkout, I would be very curious to see what the issue was at this store. I tried a few of the links but the content was removed at the posters request for some reason.
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post #16 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by ncee View Post

PS Or is this just folks who don't like taking in all this money, and not getting more of it for themselves???

Or, maybe it is the lack of work hours to make what they are paid worth their time to even show up for work?

Or, maybe Apple should get away from these dumb ass terms like "Apple Specialist"! Call them the sales clerks and cashiers they really are. If someone is a "Specialist" you'd think they'd be paid more, like how doctors don't become general practitioners, but rather pick an area in the medical field and become a "Specialist" because that is where the money is!

And of course no one here would scream bloody murder if their compensation package was reviewed and found to be too sufficient and therefore, a cut in pay and benefits is warranted! Surely that person would never equate their service to the company and the money they made for the company as a legit excuse to warrant more compensation.

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post #17 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

They've got iPhone 3GSs and new Nanos so I find it unusual that no one has manage to capture this manager's behavior (if that's in fact what's happening there) on video yet

Probably too smart for that. I mean we're not talking ACORN here!

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post #18 of 121
For a company with such small market share relative to their own, Microsoft seems to be taking them pretty seriously.
post #19 of 121
Just a hop, skip and a jump from Redmond!
post #20 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Sleazy yes, but a valid business tactic. They are trying to figure out what makes the Apple Store tick and to gain some Apple talent. Unfortunately, I see this as trying to plug an A/C device into a D/C power source. They come from two different cultures. The shock may kill them

I find this whole MS store an odd curiosity. MS itself doesn't make PC's. They sell software, and the Zune. That's it. Apple on the other hand, is more hardware centric, with a smattering of software thrown in. The two don't directly compete, except on the OS front, which happens to be tied to Apple's hardware. It will be interesting to see how these stores fare.

As to the Apple Store walkout, I would be very curious to see what the issue was at this store. I tried a few of the links but the content was removed at the posters request for some reason.


Microsoft can sell all the PC available, HP DELL ACER etc.. Also they got a beautiful worm to attracted people to come in the strore with the surface table.

But it's really annoying that Microsoft could'nt invent something by themselve. They alway's copy
post #21 of 121
Okay, by their laptop hunter ads, they've positioned themselves as the cheap alternative to Macs. Now they're pursuing a retail strategy that shadows Apple's high-end store placement. What gives Microsoft? Are you Walmart or Neiman-Marcus? Ballmer is really just thrashing about with no idea at all where to take the company. Why is Bill Gates and the MS board putting up with this?
post #22 of 121
I would guess that MS has the funds, and considers this an experiment in it's own right. More of a 'what if' scenario for them. MS has more money than they know what to do with. There is always the possibility that this could drum up business, or change the 'cheap' image that MS has, which may be the intended result all along. This may be less about making sales, and more about changing perception of MS itself.
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post #23 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

WOW...that's a pretty sleazy business practice by MS.

How so? Like when Apple hired away that Papermaster guy from IBM?
post #24 of 121
Here's a question: Do Microsoft's own people actually realize what nightmare stories are going to come out of their Guru Bars?

You come in with a problem and if you're lucky you get 18 different answers, a handful of complex solutions and 4 levels of finger-pointing. More likely the Guru just shrugs and chalks it up to some software conflict between something like a system-hijacking printer software suite and aggressive AV software.

"Could be the printer software. Could be adobe. Could be McAffee. Could be the Yahoo toolbar in IE. Could be ..." -- "It's not Windows, you'll have to call Dell. It's not Dell, you'll have to call Microsoft about the device drivers. It's not Microsoft's drivers, you'll have to contact the hardware vendor for new drivers..." -- "Click start->run, type msconfig ... or start->control panel->administrative tools->services ... or start->run, regedit ... "

I mean, there's no possible way to answer 90% of Windows questions without the particular machine in front of you. And there's no way to promise any sort of resolution even if someone did bring the particular machine in. (See: all the completely satisfied Geek Squad customers...)

There are too many ways to deeply affect a Windows install (even without getting into the realm of viruses and malware) and no-one to step forward and take responsibility for being the vendor who screwed it up. Microsoft is just setting up some well-meaning geeks to be crucified on a daily basis, which at best will just result in burn-out and high turn-over and more likely lead to jaded, snippy, combative and dismissive 'Gurus'.

How far removed from Microsoft's own products do these people have to be to greenlight this concept?
post #25 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roc Ingersol View Post

Here's a question: Do Microsoft's own people actually realize what nightmare stories are going to come out of their Guru Bars?

You come in with a problem and if you're lucky you get 18 different answers, a handful of complex solutions and 4 levels of finger-pointing. More likely the Guru just shrugs and chalks it up to some software conflict between something like a system-hijacking printer software suite and aggressive AV software.

"Could be the printer software. Could be adobe. Could be McAffee. Could be the Yahoo toolbar in IE. Could be ..." -- "It's not Windows, you'll have to call Dell. It's not Dell, you'll have to call Microsoft about the device drivers. It's not Microsoft's drivers, you'll have to contact the hardware vendor for new drivers..." -- "Click start->run, type msconfig ... or start->control panel->administrative tools->services ... or start->run, regedit ... "

I mean, there's no possible way to answer 90% of Windows questions without the particular machine in front of you. And there's no way to promise any sort of resolution even if someone did bring the particular machine in. (See: all the completely satisfied Geek Squad customers...)

There are too many ways to deeply affect a Windows install (even without getting into the realm of viruses and malware) and no-one to step forward and take responsibility for being the vendor who screwed it up. Microsoft is just setting up some well-meaning geeks to be crucified on a daily basis, which at best will just result in burn-out and high turn-over and more likely lead to jaded, snippy, combative and dismissive 'Gurus'.

How far removed from Microsoft's own products do these people have to be to greenlight this concept?

You seem to be implying that support for Windows isn't technically viable, which is a bit of an exaggeration. IT shops around the world support Windows on a variety of hardware platforms. Most end user problems can be chalked up to basic user error, configuration/conflict issues, or hardware failures. User errors and hardware failures are often the easiest to troubleshoot. It's the weird ones that are a pain in the arse. Windows is definitely NOT error free, but it is well established and not all that difficult to troubleshoot. I'm sure these folks will also have a direct line to the MS support structure, which will give them an escalation path should they come across something they can't solve. I would imagine many problems can be solved if you simply throw a lot of money at them.

Mind you I'm a Mac user at home, but I have to support the Windows server and client at work.
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post #26 of 121
Wow, Apple has really got under Microsoft's skin. With the laptop ads and opening retail stores and now this? Even Microsoft thinks Apple's market share is going to increase significantly and they are scared.
post #27 of 121
The article doesn't even say what the supposed management problem is, it's way premature to take sides on that, if it's even appropriate to take sides. Given the story about employee satisfaction, it's pretty safe to say that if there is a problem, it's not endemic to the entire chain.

Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

The Guru Bar. That's innovation.

I think that evokes images of the comic strip guru, sitting on a high mountain, with harried travelers begging for solutions to their computer problems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post

Okay, by their laptop hunter ads, they've positioned themselves as the cheap alternative to Macs. Now they're pursuing a retail strategy that shadows Apple's high-end store placement. What gives Microsoft? Are you Walmart or Neiman-Marcus? Ballmer is really just thrashing about with no idea at all where to take the company. Why is Bill Gates and the MS board putting up with this?

I know that Apple stores take in a lot of money, but their non-flagship stores really don't seem that impressive all the time. The one closest to me doesn't seem to have any acoustical treatment at all, it's too noisy and echoey, and the environment feels almost institutional.
post #28 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

You seem to be implying that support for Windows isn't technically viable, which is a bit of an exaggeration. IT shops around the world support Windows on a variety of hardware platforms. Most end user problems can be chalked up to basic user error, configuration/conflict issues, or hardware failures. User errors and hardware failures are often the easiest to troubleshoot. It's the weird ones that are a pain in the arse. Windows is definitely NOT error free, but it is well established and not all that difficult to troubleshoot. I'm sure these folks will also have a direct line to the MS support structure, which will give them an escalation path should they come across something they can't solve. I would imagine many problems can be solved if you simply throw a lot of money at them.

Mind you I'm a Mac user at home, but I have to support the Windows server and client at work.

Yeah the way IT department handle that is by having standard configuration and in some cases disallowing installation of any non approved software. The MS store will not be dealing with that, they will be dealing with the everyday person and all the possible combination of software and hardware and will have no clue where to start since Window really lacks debug tools to help isolate things.

I manage my own mac and the few times I run into a problem I can quickly isolate the problem or a quick search of the net I find a solution to the exact issue and fix it.

I have tried the same on a PC, and doing a search of the net finds very similar problems but the solutions usually do not work since the so specific to someone exact configuration that it does not help.

I happen to use a PC at work, and we have pretty strict policies on what you can do with the PC. I can tell you I have had a number issues where Window just started doing odd things without me doing anything or installing any new software. Call IT support and spend hours with them looking and trying various things, turnoff stuff, uninstalling things with no resolution. Only after spending hours on it they throw up their hands and say the drive will have to be re-image. Re-image always fixes the problem, but it is usually a 2 day affair to get it done.

I can tell you that in 25yrs of owning Mac I never once had to re-install the OS to resolve a problem. I have been always able to isolate the problem to an offending file or program and buy removing it and turn it off the problem went a way. I can not say the same for PC.
post #29 of 121
I'm always amazed by how mistreated unskilled workers in retail stores make themselves out to be. And like this walkout is going to make Apple take notice of your amazing capabilities. As if they can't find somebody else to slide a credit card through a machine at the ipod stand. The only thing this walkout would prove is the ignorance of youth. Don't kid yourself. There is a long line of people who'd be willing to replace you. And an even longer line at the unemployment office.
post #30 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Yes, but it also sounded like the matter was looked into by Apple's human resource department and they didn't do anything. However, we don't know anything about this. HR actions can take time to investigate and act on, if necessary. If the entire staff is walking about, there's probably something to the complaints. But this could also just be one employee leaking this news and perhaps he/she is the only one unhappy with the situation. Planning a walkout for two weeks from now seems a bit odd. Why wait?

It is possible that whatever they are complaining about is something that is 100% legal by federal law and state law they just don't like it. Like perhaps some of the staff were tardy for work on time too many and got fired or someone called out one time too many and was fired. Or they don't like the availability rules (I worked at one place where you have to have at least two completely open days and one of them had to be Saturday or Sunday just for part time, for full time it was 3 open days) or maybe they don't get health insurance or they don't have to be paid time and a half for working on major holidays. any one of which might be legal just not nice.

as for the two weeks thing, perhaps they decided to give them some time to fix the problem or at least respond showing they really are trying to.

however, this 'leak' could hurt them in the end because in some states you are required to keep things on the QT during investigations (tip off the other side and they could tweak the evidence for example)
post #31 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by radwansk View Post

I'm always amazed by how mistreated unskilled workers in retail stores make themselves out to be. And like this walkout is going to make Apple take notice of your amazing capabilities. As if they can't find somebody else to slide a credit card through a machine at the ipod stand. The only thing this walkout would prove is the ignorance of youth. Don't kid yourself. There is a long line of people who'd be willing to replace you. And an even longer line at the unemployment office.

I go hot and cold on Apple retail staff. It's a demanding job, especially the Genius Bar. But they can be quite snarky. And they're sometimes deceptive.

But real problems are acknowledged and they replaced a MBP for me that was out of warranty after their repair was faulty.

Obviously Apple did their homework before opening the stores. Microsoft wants to copy the homework. Not sure that will work.
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post #32 of 121
Again MS think they will be successful by hiring these people. Just because these people can manage a store does not mean they will make MS store successful. It is not like hiring someone who works at wal-mart and have them work at k-mart and sell the same product.

Apple has a great set of product and as long as you understand the underlying principles behind the product you will be successful since the product just work. However, just because they can sell and manages does not mean that sell "junk" to anyone.
post #33 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

It is possible that whatever they are complaining about is something that is 100% legal by federal law and state law they just don't like it. Like perhaps some of the staff were tardy for work on time too many and got fired or someone called out one time too many and was fired. Or they don't like the availability rules (I worked at one place where you have to have at least two completely open days and one of them had to be Saturday or Sunday just for part time, for full time it was 3 open days) or maybe they don't get health insurance or they don't have to be paid time and a half for working on major holidays. any one of which might be legal just not nice.

as for the two weeks thing, perhaps they decided to give them some time to fix the problem or at least respond showing they really are trying to.

however, this 'leak' could hurt them in the end because in some states you are required to keep things on the QT during investigations (tip off the other side and they could tweak the evidence for example)

Tweak could hurt them in the way they decide to do something like cut back their hours and staff from other stores in the area? I'd be surprised if their state isn't a right to work state. So Apple could let them go because they didn't liek the way the wind blew.
post #34 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

I would guess that MS has the funds, and considers this an experiment in it's own right. More of a 'what if' scenario for them. MS has more money than they know what to do with. There is always the possibility that this could drum up business, or change the 'cheap' image that MS has, which may be the intended result all along. This may be less about making sales, and more about changing perception of MS itself.

hiring apple-savvy staff will not help their cheap reputation
how much can it help, really? besides putting apple stores through trouble to restaff?
post #35 of 121
Huh. That sounds a pretty good bit like a manager at the Christiana Store. He was SO DETERMINED to "Catch me stealing" from "his store." At one point, whoever actually WAS stealing from the store got so brazen that they had to start checking our bags before we could leave, after our shifts were up. But this manager wouldn't do it in the privacy of the back of the store for me. He insisted that my bookbag, my coat, and my pockets all be searched out in Front of House, where there'd be witnesses.

Yeah. I finally quit when he got mad and told a customer "This guy is stealing sh*t and I'm going to prove it", after I refused to let him pat me down. Sick freak.
post #36 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by radwansk View Post

I'm always amazed by how mistreated unskilled workers in retail stores make themselves out to be. And like this walkout is going to make Apple take notice of your amazing capabilities. As if they can't find somebody else to slide a credit card through a machine at the ipod stand. The only thing this walkout would prove is the ignorance of youth. Don't kid yourself. There is a long line of people who'd be willing to replace you. And an even longer line at the unemployment office.


I have to agree, they are working there because they want to or they can not necessarily do anything else. Then they look around and see people who got a nice 9 to 5 job, nights and weekend off and get paid really well and they say I want that too at this job which they took and signed up to do. Face it they are working retail, they have no control over the schedule they assign you to the hours they want them there and their pay is based on how much they sell in some regards. If they can not moving product out the door then they will be the one moving out the door.

Face it any consumer facing job sucks, you do not get paid well and your treated badly and are expected not to think and just do and performance is very easy to measure, how much did you sell today. They do not care if you help someone answered their question or solved their problem unless the consumer paid money for those efforts.
post #37 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

Or, maybe it is the lack of work hours to make what they are paid worth their time to even show up for work?

Or, maybe Apple should get away from these dumb ass terms like "Apple Specialist"! Call them the sales clerks and cashiers they really are. If someone is a "Specialist" you'd think they'd be paid more, like how doctors don't become general practitioners, but rather pick an area in the medical field and become a "Specialist" because that is where the money is!

And of course no one here would scream bloody murder if their compensation package was reviewed and found to be too sufficient and therefore, a cut in pay and benefits is warranted! Surely that person would never equate their service to the company and the money they made for the company as a legit excuse to warrant more compensation.

Must suck to be a smug jerk who resents anyone wanting decent working conditions and fair pay.
FWIW, remember that Alan Greenspan worked for years to make sure that the economy ensured high unemployment in order to keep labor in oversupply, wages down (and corporate profits up.)

I'm sure you have no problem with leeching executives pulling in billion dollar compensation tho'. They must really deserve it as opposed to grunts who work for a living.
post #38 of 121
"Guru Bar" sound like a chocolate bar, i wonder if it will contain nuts!

Guru Bars warning may contain nuts.
post #39 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post

Sleazy yes, but a valid business tactic. They are trying to figure out what makes the Apple Store tick and to gain some Apple talent. Unfortunately, I see this as trying to plug an A/C device into a D/C power source. They come from two different cultures. The shock may kill them

I find this whole MS store an odd curiosity. MS itself doesn't make PC's. They sell software, and the Zune. That's it. ...

hmm... xbox 360
post #40 of 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Foo2 View Post

Just a hop, skip and a jump from Redmond!

Hmmmmm.........
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