Microsoft, OEMs Pledging $200 Million For Windows Phone Marketing Push

If you’re not a Windows fan, then these next few months may not be too pleasant for you. WinSupersite’s Paul Thurrott reports that Microsoft and OEM friends like Nokia and Samsung will be spending around $200 million in order give Windows Phone a big U.S. marketing push in early 2012.

It’s quite a handsome sum, but the platform is in dire need of a shot in the arm. While the platform is picking up steam when it comes to app submissions, comScore’s most recent report shows that Microsoft’s mobile platform only accounts for 5.2% of all smartphone subscribers in the U.S.

That hefty marketing budget will be used to build awareness around all of the new Windows Phones that should soon see the light of day at a carrier store near you. Nokia’s Ace in particular will be enjoying a turn in the spotlight — BetaNews reported earlier today that Microsoft and AT&T will give the Ace the full hero treatment, which in this case means a concerted advertising push and in-store promotions.

Thurrott also notes that the time and money will be spent to bolster Windows Phone awareness with retail employees. While Windows-focused trainings are a given, Thurrott also mentions that sales incentives may on the books:

“The amount of payments are $10 to $15 per handset sold, depending on the number sold, for some handset models.”

It’s an interesting idea but it has the potential to make things a little dicey. If true, the plan will certainly entice employees (especially commissioned ones) to push Windows Phone like crazy. The inherent downside to it though is that customers may ultimately end up with a device that isn’t quite right for them.

Educating employees (and making a good time out of the process) is a great way to make sure that the platform’s strengths and features get a fair shake during a sale. Paying employees a little extra to push one platform over another seems more than a little disingenuous, especially when a customer could potentially be stuck with an unwanted device for a few years. It’s a very fine line to tread, and it’s possible that Microsoft could be left with some ill-will and unsatisfied users if a few salespeople take things too far. Thurrott makes no mention of specific carriers or retail outlets that have agreed to the spiff scheme.

In any case, I’d prepare for a veritable blitz of Windows Phone promotions and media soon. If Microsoft and company play their cards right, we won’t be able to think of buying a new phone without thinking Windows.