back to article Microsoft lines staff pockets with Windows 7 phone

Microsoft plans to dish out Windows 7 phones to all its staff in a move clearly designed to get people talking about the company's wannabe rival to Apple's iPhone. Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet yesterday tweeted the MS announcement at the software vendor's annual backslapping fest - otherwise known as the Microsoft Global Exchange. …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd
    Gates Halo

    Not exactly

    "...the firm that up to now hasn't really made any notable inroads into the mobile phone biz."

    I'm not sure that's entirely true. WIndows Mobile 5 / 6 had a not insignificant market share; it's just that they underestimated the importance of the UI and lost out to the iPhone and later Android.

    I kind of hope Windows Phone 7 actually makes inroads, but it's hard to see it happening. The company has really lost the plot since Billy G left.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Spot on. Windows Mobile was a kick arse mobile OS in its day. But as with IE6, MS had the lead so saw no financial reason to evolve the product.

      Then Apple kicked them in the nuts and Android stuck a shoe in while they were down and that was the end of Windows Mobile.

      1. crayon

        Windows Mobile get its arse kicked

        > Windows Mobile was a kick arse mobile OS in its day

        It sure made me want to kick its arse. If it didn't crash once a day it would crash several times a day.

    2. Robert E A Harvey


      There is much in what you say. But

      >it's just that they underestimated the importance of the UI

      needs expanding a bit

      it's just that they underestimated the importance of the UI or of the phone not needing rebooting at least once a day and cold starting at least once a week.

      There, that's better.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        I'm no Microsoft fan, but my 4 yr old WinMo phone only freezes occasionally (weeks go by without needing to reboot). My wifes iPhone 3GS freezes more often.

        Having said that, I'm in the process of selecting my next handset - it won't be WinMo as that's to dated, and it definately won't be WinPhone 7.0 as I really don't feel like getting a v1.0 product with half the features missing, very few available apps and locked down tighter than the iPhone.

  2. Bryan Anderson
    Gates Halo

    Free or subsided?

    "...a new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world," he confirmed.

    The process will vary based on your market, your carrier, and your launch date so stay tuned for more information closer to launch."

    Hmmm....guess it would be a nice gesture of MS and will get people talking, but apart from that first tweet, I see nothing that says they will be free, simply "available". Big difference between free and offered at a discount rate before they go on general sale, etc.

    I'm just a cynic.

    1. Annihilator Silver badge

      No cynicism

      I reckon you're spot on. I noticed that phrase as well - whether the MS cannon fodder have seen that statement and made some massive assumptions, I can't tell yet. Be interesting to see this backfire massively.

      Perhaps they just meant "available to buy early" which also wouldn't surprise me.

    2. Doug Glass

      Oh They'll Give You ...

      ... the cheap device and then write off that cost as developmental or late-phase R&D. You can pretty much guess the actual worth of the phone itself based on US laws on gift values to employees. Not laws that will sink the corporation, but laws that apply to the individual that are enforced by the IRS. In all likelihood the true value of the device will be less than $50. But then, thst'a likely true for all modern smart phones.

      And you still have to buy into a service. Or use it as a paperweight if such things still exist, or even should exist. If I were still within the U.S. corporate world, this would not please me. Similar to an electricity producer asking if your house is heated in whole or part by a rival gas company. Once MS produces a smart phone and it goes on the market, a lot of the competition's phone will not be a welcome site at the Microsoft home offices.

      Sounds more like a subtle corporate hint to me rather than a gift.

  3. Geoff Campbell

    "made available to"

    So, does that mean "given", then? Because it might not.


  4. TeeCee Gold badge
    Gates Horns

    Nothing new.

    Many companies give their employees free shit..............just not usually the warm, brown and steamy sort.

    1. DrunkenMessiah


      I get free coffee at work...

  5. Tom 7 Silver badge

    Hallo is that MS support?

    hallo, hallo



    <aside> what time is it in India?

  6. danny_0x98

    I Was Strolling Through the Parse One Day

    Give or made available? I see the "when" is based on the details of the employee's particular carrier.

    As Microsoft will not be making the phone, and I can't imagine Microsoft buying the phones unlocked, it sounds like a reimbursement program.

    Again, since Microsoft doesn't make the phone, their cost for the program is the amount of reimbursement, less the licensing amount paid by the phone's manufacturer. Let's say a 200 reimbursement less 15 income for the os license and all 87000 use the program, that's 16.1 million USD net cash out. As a promotional tactic, wouldn't the money be better spent on advertising?

    As a thank you gesture, though, it's a nice one. The complications with smartphones are they are expensive and carrier two-year lock-ins and exclusivity deals mean some employees may opt-out for sensible reasons which have nothing to do with the phone os quality, especially if the reimbursement offer is time-limited. Fortunately, the tech press, renowned for its balance and sensitivity, will not report future offer uptake counts along the entertaining lines of how many Microsoft employees don't use WP7, even when it's free. And...


  7. ian 22

    10 friends?

    Be these Facebook friends, or actual mates? I know several microsofties, and they don't have 10 actual friends between them.

    Beer, not only for breakfast any longer.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    there will be lots of cheap windoze 7 fones going cheap on ebay, i would buy for £5.

  9. Ashley Stevens


    Free as in free? Or free as is in 'Free on a 2 year contract from the worst operator in your region'? ie just as free as almost all other phones except the iPhone

    1. Stephen W Harris

      Taxable benefit

      And if it is really free then this may count as a taxable benefit...

  10. Rogerborg

    Spoooooky prediction

    It'll be at full cost, by salary garnishment, accompanied by a missive along these lines:

    "Be the first to own many of these super-magical paradigm destroying devices! Pre-order as many as you feel is commensurate with your company loyalty for your [soon to be ex] friends, family and neighbo[u]rs. As we confidently expect your loyalty to be high, we have pre-allocated ten (10) units specifically to you. However, you are under no strict legal obligation to purchase your full allocation, and our lawyers have instructed us to tell you that the number that you order will not stay on any permanent record that you are able to obtain, nor provably influence your future salary reviews. Enjoy!"

  11. Doshu

    screw hype

    If it works well and does what's expected of it well (or better than the competition), it will be given it's chance. If not, then it's the rubbish pile of history -- just like anything else.

  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    @ Jimmy Floyd

    Couldn't agree more.

    I think a lot of phones have come with Windows mobile, and there are an awful lot of them still out there - so I think that to state that Microsoft have made no inroads is just a perception.

    What has does them no favours though is that it's just too unstable, and very fiddly to use on a touchscreen phone which is why a lot of manufacturers and suppliers have overlaid the Windows UI with their own interfaces to try to make it more user friendly.

  13. Large
    Thumb Up

    Great Way to Engender Brand Loyalty

    If Windows Phone 7 is worth anything, it should engender brand loyalty and make employees brand evangelists. If, however, it is full of bugs... well, could have quite the opposite effect. Ultimately, it comes down to a quality product.


    1. Notas Badoff

      possibly bugs as "dog food"?

      One doctrine supposedly understood by Microsoft is "eating your own dog food", which means using your own new or in-progress products so that their problems are immediately obvious to you, and not something which existence you simply dispute later.

      What would be massively riveting would be if Microsoft said they'd be giving (yes, giving) the phones to at least 10% of their employees 3 or so months before general release. Any sufficiently large number of fat fingers and tinny ears will reveal the bugs, and also prevent cover-ups.

      That would be an amazing statement of faith: our product is wonderful, really, and our employees can be trusted to report the truth as it is. (Such a loyal and well-rewarded bunch would do no less, yes?)

  14. paulmuadeeb

    Biased Much?

    I fail to understand that if the author feels this deeply about Microsoft, shouldn't she refrain from writing about it? You know Journalistic integrity and all that old crap of the past.

    Previous articles by the author has had the same leanings. One thing for sure, she is a fan of Firefox and Apple.

  15. Joe User

    Ulterior motive

    I guess that's one way to inflate your early adoption stats....

  16. Anonymous Coward

    Recall message

    Dear microsoftie you will be pleased to know that a shiny new win 7 mobile will be sent to you soon. Feel free to discard that "other" phone that has been causing me, I mean you, so much trouble.


    - sent from my iPhone

  17. Tigra 07
    IT Angle


    Will be inteteresting to see if this phone costs more or less than the new iphone and if it can compete in the hardware department

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Vista For Mobile

    Windows 7 Phone will be the Vista for mobile devices.

  19. Bill B
    Thumb Up

    Leave it in a bar

    So, how many phones will be accidentally left in a bar and then found and sold to some tech mag.

    And for how much?

    1. Bradley
      Thumb Down


      But will anyone care? "Oh look someone left their.... HTC?"

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