The phones, which will run the firm’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system (OS), are being offered to employees at no charge. Microsoft will be hoping that by buying up a large number of the phones to throw at its employees, it can mitigate the chance of relatively weak sales to its own staff compared to Apple’s Iphone and numerous Android devices.
It’s not surprising that a company offers its employees phones running its software. Apple offered something similar to those who had worked for the cappuccino company for more than year. However, the popularity of the Iphone among Microsoft’s employees must be a source of embarrassment to the firm, which has seen its Windows Mobile smartphone OS all but eradicated from the market.
Windows Phone 7 was initially shown off at Mobile World Congress in February andrecently reached what the Vole called a “very significant milestone”, with Microsoft ready to wheel out a technical preview. The software is not quite ready for prime time yet though, as the release is a closed beta, most probably aimed at developers.
Employees have not been told what phones they will receive or when they will get them, only that it will run the firm’s latest and perhaps greatest smartphone OS. This tallies with the fact that neither the firm nor any handset manufacturers have chimed in with a release date for Windows Phone 7.
By dangling the carrot of a free phone, Microsoft must be hoping that its army of Voles will ditch other devices and help it claw back market share in the smartphone market.