If there's one way to get the ball rolling for a new device or platform, it's to give it away for free. According to tweets from Microsoft employees, that's exactly what the company is doing for the upcoming launch of Windows Phone 7. Reports are suggesting that over 90,000 employees around the globe will be given a device running the new mobile OS absolutely free.
Windows Phone 7 will be entering into a crowded smartphone market when it arrives later this year. Devices based on existing heavyweights Android and iOS are already well established, both on store shelves and in customer's minds. However, having a large number of people using and showing-off their new Windows Phones should help the platform to gain traction from day one. The value of word-of-mouth marketing is several times that of traditional advertising, one would expect, and this seems to be exactly what the software-giant is hoping for.
Moreover, this move can only be good for the image of Microsoft as a company. It would be slightly embarrassing if employees were choosing to use a competing phone instead of the company's brand-new platform. While this isn't such an issue with the clearly outdated Windows Mobile 6.5, the top brass won't want the workers clinging to their iPhones once Windows Phone 7 hits the market.
If nothing else, though, this will be a nice boost for employees, as almost everyone likes getting free stuff. Now they'll just be hoping that the new mobile platform is really something worth shouting about.