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Microsoft announces gadget bounty for employees

by Mark Tyson on 14 September 2012, 10:30

Tags: Surface, Windows 8, Windows Phone

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qabmfv

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Microsoft held the annual company meeting for employees at Key Arena, Seattle yesterday. This is an internal meeting so it won’t be accompanied by a press release or Microsoft blog post but apparently at the meeting the employees were showered with gifts.

Seattle Key Arena

The headline act of generosity is that full time direct employees of Microsoft will all get a free Surface RT to use at work or home. The Surface RT tablet is due for launch in just over a month, on the day that Windows 8 is launched; 26th October. But that may only save employees $199 each...

Secondly “All employees will get new Windows Phone 8 devices for use at work and home. This is what Microsoft did for Windows Phone 7′s release, as well,” according to the report on GeekWire. This won’t be a “Surface Phone” or any other Windows Phone 8 device made by Microsoft, simply because it isn’t making such a thing. I would expect close partner Nokia’s Lumia WP8 devices to be the favoured freebies.

Steve Ballmer's gift giving face

Lastly employees’ office computers are going to be upgraded to new Windows 8 machines “made by the company’s hardware partners. Normally the refresh cycle is three years, but the company is looking to move employees to the new operating system en masse” says GeekWire. A short report on The Verge says that the internal office roll-out of new upgraded machines including “desktops, tablets, and laptops, have started being distributed” already. That’s quick!

With an employee base of 94,000 people worldwide Microsoft is indeed being generous with these hardware perks. The only freebie I ever got during my 15 years in the print business was one of a short run of “The Westmorland Gazette Book of the 20th Century”. It was a copy of a 260 page hardback book I spent weeks typesetting, my freebie sample rendered unsellable due to the binding company accidentally stitching the gold leaf embossed cover on upside-down...



HEXUS Forums :: 10 Comments

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Be nice if other tech companies with Windows8 products did the same - quite fancy getting a Win8RT tablet free, or failing that at low cost. :D
Maybe they've realised the only way they can get people to have Windows 8 is to give it away for free! If I was one of their staff, the first thing I'd do is reformat the PC and stick Windows 7 on it!
It might just be me but isn't it sort of worrying if you have to give your workers a new product for free to get them to use it. I'd understand giving them one at a discount mind but free does sort of seem a little desperate.
Why do we always have to look at this negatively?

Perhaps Microsoft just want to hold onto their staff by making it a good place to work, give them what they need and ensure nobody at the company feels left out? Also wouldn't you want all your staff to know and understand your latest product inside out? It's not "desperate" it's bloody sensible! 94,000 devices even at a few hundred dollars each is pocket change to Microsoft - a company which usually makes BILLIONS every year, hell it's probably a tiny fraction of the Windows 8 marketing budget.
tickleonthetum
Maybe they've realised the only way they can get people to have Windows 8 is to give it away for free! If I was one of their staff, the first thing I'd do is reformat the PC and stick Windows 7 on it!
Doing that with the desktop PC's (and laptops) fine. But if you're suggesting doing that with the tablets and smartphones, then surely that'd be a real boneheaded move?
cheesemp
It might just be me but isn't it sort of worrying if you have to give your workers a new product for free to get them to use it. I'd understand giving them one at a discount mind but free does sort of seem a little desperate.
Nope, I see what they're trying to do - it's the old "we eat our own dogfood" cliche. Or more specifically they can then use ads along the lines of "Microsoft trusts it's business to Windows8 - why shouldn't you?".

Not to say anything of the fact that if Windows8 on desktops/laptops is as good as MS claim (and I have my doubts) then you've just enrolled your workforce as (unpaid) salesfolks - spreading the "good word" around.

Where I'm going to agree with you is that while this is okay for Microsoft, for OEM's wanting to follow suit then discount rather than free would probably be more appropriate. Heck, if my employer wants to sell me a Win8RT tablet "at cost" (or preferably less than!) then I'd probably go for it.