Microsoft learns from Google and gives employees Windows Phone 7 devices

Will seeding the phone with "softies" get Microsoft some recognition for its latest mobile OS?
Written by Joel Evans, Contributor

From what is now the tweet heard around the world, ZDNet's own @maryjofoley retweeted @simchabe's tweet stating that:

"Every single Microsoft employee will get a windows phone 7"

I mentioned in the headline that this is a page out of Google's book. If you remember back to December 2008, Google handed out G1's as a holiday bonus (thanks Gizmodo). Now Microsoft is handing them out, not as a bonus but probably as a way to get everyone excited about the company's latest version of its mobile OS.

I had some time with Windows Phone 7 a while back but Matt Miller has been covering it all this week, starting with his definitive guide. According to Matt, the OS is in great shape and could actually be a contender. But Matt is a hard core early adopter and ex-lover of Windows Mobile, and right now we're only hearing impressions on the technical preview. To that end, non-techs haven't been as positive.

So, what's the best way to generate some positive hype? Give a ton of "softies" a new device with the brand new OS and get them talking to their friends about it.

With this latest reboot of Windows Mobile, Microsoft needs to hit it out of the park. Their best option is to get the hype going now, and what better way then to seed the device with all of its employees.

I'm still undecided as to whether or not Windows Phone 7 is going to be a contender. In my mind, Android picked up where Windows Mobile left off, and even with a new interface and a speedy OS, Windows Phone 7 might be a bit late to the smartphone party. That said, Microsoft can afford to sit in a channel for a while, so as long as Windows Phone 7 ships, you can expect to see updates coming fast and furious, not to mention tons of apps coming from existing Silverlight and XNA developers.

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