Back in October, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed that the company would be handing out free Windows Phones to each of its 89,000 employees. The generous and expensive gesture from Microsoft was seen as a great publicity move, of course, but now it’s time to pay the piper. Microsoft employees in some regions have begun receiving their free devices and, as expected, they’re being quite vocal with their excitement. Among the first to receive their free phones, each of Microsoft’s 1,200 employees in the Netherlands have been given a Samsung Omnia 7. Employees seem quite pleased with the device so far, which features a 4-inch Super-AMOLED display, a 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture support and a 1GHz processor. 1,200 down, 87,800 to go.
Santa Ballmer? Steve Claus? Neither nickname has a great ring to it, but Microsoft’s CEO definitely deserves something similar this holiday season. Network World confirmed Thursday that Microsoft will be handing out free Windows Phone 7 devices to each and every company employee — that’s about 89,000 phones. Add to that another 1,000 free WP7 handsets that will be passed out to Microsoft’s Professional Developer Conference attendees, and you’ve got quite an expense (likely over $20 million) that the Redmond giant is swallowing. You can’t put a price on publicity, however, and 90,000 free phones translates into a pretty huge amount of chatter. This is all well and good, but let’s hope the sizable stunt also ends up moving some product. More →