Back at the Microsoft company meeting in September, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer played Santa early, promising that all Microsoft employees would get Surface RT tablet/PCs and Windows Phone 8 devices.
As reported by Geekwire, the word was all full-time direct, employees (a.k.a. Blue Badges/FTEs) would get a Surface RT machine for use at work and home. The announcement was a real morale booster (based on a few tweets I saw escape the supposedly tweet-free Key Arena where the company meeting was held).
Today, December 12, is the date that employees could begin collecting their Surface RTs, as several employees noted via Twitter today.
I've heard from my contacts that employees in 12 countries with Microsoft offices are part of the inital rollout. The 12: United States, Canada, U.K., Germany, France, China, Australia, Hong Kong, Austria, Ireland, Puerto Rico and New Zealand. Other offices will get their devices in secondary phases. The goal supposedly is to make sure the majority of employees will have their Surfaces in time for Christmas.
The give-away is smart on Microsoft's part. Who better than one's employees to show off the latest shiny toy at family get-togethers over the holidays? (I know I showed mine off to a few interested Apple and Android devotees in my family at Thanksgiving.) One-on-one evangelism could help spur demand.
Microsoft also is counting on a wider distribution channel to help generate more demand, as well. On December 11, Microsoft announced plans to distribute Surface RTs via Staples (as of today) and Best Buy starting this weekend. Microsoft plans to make Surfaces available in retail stores in other countries, which company officials declined to name, as well.
Microsoft also promised all full-timers a free Windows Phone 8 device. Employee phone distribution happened earlier this fall.