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Microsoft handing out Surface tablets, Windows Phones and PCs to employees

Santa's here - free gifts for everyone

Microsoft has announced at an internal event held in Seattle that employees at the company will be receiving a hardware package which includes a PC refresh, Surface tablet and Windows Phone. GeekWire reports the company is looking to accelerate the refresh cycle for Employee workstations to take full advantage of Windows 8. 

As well as new PCs in the office, employees will receive new Windows Phone 8 hardware for both business and personal use, mimicking what the company did with Windows Phone 7's launch. Lastly, if the above wasn't enough already, all full-time employees will receive a Surface RT tablet to enjoy.

Not only is this a great way to boost employee morale (at a time where the company is looking good with rebranding and a strong product lineup), but it also enables the company to get new products out to a strong 90,000 workforce.

Source: GeekWire, image: Engadget; thanks, Norman, for the tip!

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • DAM,DAM,DAM; I wish I was a MS employee :-D
  • +1
  • +1000
  • +4000000000000
  • +1
  • +999^999
  • +1+999^999+1+2
  • +infinity
  • A great from of dog fooding. Hopefully this will help spark some ideas for future iterations and bring quick fixes since they themselves will be using the products.
  • Agreed, but at the same time, I'm sure MS will warn employees not to divulge any details of WP8 until they unveil it. And best to be careful with it wherever you are.
    Remember the case of an Apple engineer who left his prototype iPhone at a bar? Some idiot Gizmondo reporter got his hands on it and started posting pictures of it over the web. Ended up getting the full blast of Apple's legal team as a result and I'm sure the careless engineer either got a grilling of his life or worse, fired.
  • The idiot is who left his phone at the bar. Not the reporter. Kthxbye
  • True, and so is the reporter. One for leaving the phone at the bar and the other for stealing it and post details and pictures of it on the web when he should have handed it over to the police.
  • Even handing it to the police = shit happens just because he has a badge don't mean he ain't fucked up in the head and has a criminal mind just look at those protest events wen its suppose to be "freedom of speech" they turn on the people and open fire shit like beanbag guns, tazergun, and pepper spray and there suppose to protect and serve? lol
  • Me RT envious
  • Sign me up!
  • Give me one
  • Why would a vendor get an employee perk? Makes no sense.
  • This is what you would say "The New MS". In order to start the process, begin within and let it spread out, you know like a virus.
  • lucky
  • Slightly jealous
  • Nothing is free.
  • We the outsiders will pay for. This cost will be imbedded in our price.
  • Well of course it is. I'm not really sure what the point you're trying to make is. Are you painting this as a bad thing?
    Companies are in business to make money. That money comes from investors and consumers. By the very definition of how business works, if a company spends money, it's indirectly paid for by investors and consumers.
    Microsoft is advertising Windows Phone. Oh no! This is going to just be payed by us outsiders! Microsoft is giving their employees a yearly raise! Oh no! We outsiders are getting screwed over having to pay for those raises! Microsoft hired developers to write code for the next Windows Phone kernel. Well, wait just a minute there, they're screwing over the consumers by passing the cost on to us!
  • Yeah, I don't get his/her point either. Like Microsoft specifically considered charging the customers for giving its employees gifts. News Flash: Every company does this in one form or another, deal with it.
  • You couldn't possibly believe that the cost for all of this comes from the price of ALL of Microsoft's products, right?  Microsoft isn't raising the price to license WP8 to hardware manufacturers, so I don't see how this will affect outsiders in any way.
  • Okay, what's your point??? Sale people AIP (add-into-price) all the time. If you don't want one, don't buy one.
  • Actually, this one's free.
  • Free to employees. I am talking about the rest of the world.
  • I didn't reply to you. So i don't know what that statement has to do with mine.
  • You guys are missing his point and the very basics of economics. He is correct. Nothing is free. There are always opportunity costs. Which is the cost of your next best alternative. Sheesh.
  • Its not "free" even to employees even if they get to take them home and sell them on eBay
  • And Microsoft is enduring some cost associated, so OP is correct.
  • +1
  • lol dude, stop multiposting to make your posts look bigger.
  • Sorry. Will try not to. Had more things to say before people stating the obvious :P
  • And me, at the end of my MSFT interview loop.... Hope I get hired before distribution!
  • Good luck! :)
  • Even if you join after, you'll likely have a welcome package. Good luck and congrats!
  • We won't get phones until after they're available (and it'll likely be just like the WP7 program if you're in the US or Canada - buy a phone on contract, and Microsoft reimburses you the cost of the device (and termination/switching fees, if you are forced to do so to get a device).  The Surface pro devices will be part of the hardware refresh cycle, so no matter what you get, if you don't get a surface if you get hired you will sometime in this fiscal year.  The RT device being given out then becomes the only device "in play", but I don't expect to get that before the holiday season either.  Oh, and I wish you good luck :).
  • If this is considered company equipment, this is nothing more than your local IT department issuing you a new computer.  If this is a personal giveaway, Microsoft will be issuing a tax form for each of those products as income. All company benefits like this are taxable. 
    I am sure MS will keep them on THEIR books and expect them to turn them in when they are done "in 20 years".  There is a FULL accounting department that knows well more combined than any of us here...and am I sure they are making the most economical decision.  Like them writing these off over the next 5 years of depreciation.
  • You, are a smart man sir!
  • pretty sure you can gift money to someone up to 10k without it being taxable. and I doubt a phone+tablet+computer will be more than 10k USD.
  • The laptop refresh device is an MS asset, so selling that could be a career-limiting move (CLM).  The phone will very likely be (at least here in North America) similar to the WP7 program where the employee purchases the device and acquires the contract for it, and is reimbursed for the cost of the device and any switching costs that were necessary to acquire it.  The Surface RT device is the only thing that will be interesting to see, as we've gotten hardware in the past - the costs of the device itself will determine what the liability may be, if anything.  We haven't gotten specifics on the phone or the Surface RT program, so this is conjecture based on past WP and hardware programs, but the PC refresh with Surface will be just like any other refresh an employee goes through for hardware - it belongs to MS.  Don't sell it, use it ;).
  • Great 90,000 people to spread the word....
  • You don't think MS's employees were already saying they like MS products?
  • To put it another way, would you not find it just a little bit odd (and probably ask a few questions) if an MS employee *didn't* have a new Windows Phone or Surface device that they were using for work at some point after launch when they came onsite for a vist?  It's a marketing thing, and it's something Microsoft is known for - dogfooding it's own products.
  • slpaige is correct. Don't blame Microsoft blame government regulations.
  • This is a great way to help Evangelize to the world. I spent 15 years at MS and people would always look and see what cool gadget we had. So good Move MS. To that temp person who commented on getting left out, I have two things to share. (1) I believe this is a IT refresh not a gift with a tax burden and (2) dude y'all screwed yourselves when you you sued, you really messed it up and affected a lot of product timelines and friendships. Proud Ex-MSFT
  • +1 - the lawsuit pretty much made any hope of a dash getting anything but a paycheck.
  • If my math is correct, that's about $180 million in give-aways to employees?  I did a rough estimate of $600 for Surface, $600 for L920, and $800 for PC refresh.  I wonder if Apple is doing the same thing for its employees?
  • The price of the phone is probably subsidized through the carrier.  The cost for surface would be the company's cost, not the retail price.  Employees would get PC refreshes anyway, doubt they're as cheap as $800.
  • I don't care what they give away just give me a damn price and make the product available like apple has. Announce the product and sell it. Not this delayed bs
  • I thought those were actually coming to the consumer next month? O_O
  • Just because you can't wait for something doesn't mean it's delayed. Just because I want to see the next avengers movie right know doesn't mean its delayed, it has an expected release time and I have to wait to see it.
  • At the risk of sounding self-serving, I think it would be a good move for Microsoft to provide Windows 8 Phones to all of the AppHub developers who have submitted Windows Phone 7 apps. Lots of us bought phones this last year, and won't be up for upgrades until well into 2013.   Estimating maybe about 50,000 app submitting developers, and a cost of $500 per device, it would set Microsoft back $25,000,000. Pocket change for bringing the enter development community onto the newest platform.
  • Santa Ballmer
  • Hahaha! Or should I say, "Ho, ho, ho!"
  • would love to work there
    smart move MS
  • I wonder if this includes Microsoft Store employees
  • Many MS Store employees are Blue Badges just like normal FTEs even though their badge has the store logo on it instead of the typical blue background. I don't know if they all are, or if it depends on if they are a part-time/full-time worker, but the ones I talked to at the Bellevue, WA store were 'normal' FTEs if you want to call them that.
  • If their (email) alias doesn't have a dash as the second character, they're an FTE (aka v-, i-, a-, etc).
  • I wish I worked for them :'(
  • so finally nokia did sell 90.000 of lumia 920.. that is not bad then its two months before release haha
  • I hope I get hired before they pass these out..
  •   :).
  • Free testers and promoters.. Smart move
  • Actually its more than testers and promoters. MS encourages their employees to code, if they can, so its also a way of getting apps out. Both RT and phone apps...
  • its more than that
  • To eBay!
  • This is more of a strategic move than a 'we love our employees' move. It's gets as many employees as possible using the Windows 8 ecosystem and thus understanding where the products need to be improved for actual every use. So many times I see people who work on one product and use completely different products for themselves. Is it a wonder why they don't understand the shortcomings of their very own product? Good move by MS here.
  • Be a MS employees is so luck and happy!
  • Same here. Very jealous. Unlike companies like AMD, there are no perks at all. That's why I always get NVIDIA.
  • You work for AMD in Austin? I have a good friend who does...he's a reliability engineer.
  • Are google employee get free Android phone?
  • Google employees usually get a nexus every December
  • Lucky bastards.
  • Sweet!
  • Awesome work, get people to know it well and love it.