Microsoft gives free phone to every employee to code in their spare time

"Develop!" is the cry of Microsoft as it plans to hand out 95,000 free Windows Phone 7 phones to its employees, asking them to evangelise about the new OS

Flora Graham
2 min read

Microsoft will give out free Windows Phone 7 handsets to all of its employees to encourage them to build apps for the new operating system in their "spare time", according to an internal email published by TechFlash.

The jumbo mobile giveaway was spotted in a Microsoft employee's tweet by Mary Jo Foley from our US sister site, ZDNet. That means about 95,000 WinPhev phones will end up in MS goody bags this year.

But according to the email from Microsoft top dog Andy Lees, there are some strings attached.

"Understand the unique value of Windows Phone 7 and evangelise to your customers, partners, friends and family!" writes Lees, in a imperative worthy of a little red book.

"Develop! A new employee developer programme which makes it much easier for you to develop apps for Marketplace in your spare time," continues the email.

The question remains as to whether MS employees will be able to reap financial rewards for the apps they develop in their own time on their free phones.

In other WinPhev news, a closer partnership between ARM and Microsoft could give a glimpse into what we can expect from Windows Phone 7 phone hardware. 

Microsoft joins only three other companies to have licenced the ARM architecture -- Qualcomm, Marvell and Infineon -- all of which make chips. We don't know whether MS plans to get its hands dirty with hardware, or whether it will use the in-depth knowledge of the ARM architecture to streamline its software.

ARM-based chips are used in the Palm Pre, iPhone and BlackBerry Bold 9700.

Dell, Asus, Samsung, LG and HTC are all lined up to make phones with the new operating system when it comes out sometime near the end of the year.

For more on Windows Phone 7, check out our early review and our hands-on video