Microsoft goes all Oprah, hands out serious swag to employees

Microsoft held an all employee meeting today and took a bit of influence from Oprah by announcing that employees will be getting some serious perks. According to GeekWire, the company is upping the refresh cycle for work PCs, handing out Surface RTs to full time employees and giving out Windows Phone 8 devices for work and home use.

The meeting was internal but did cause quite a commotion in the Seattle area today by locking up the highways (worse than usual) and even prompted local radio stations to alert non-Microsoft employees to stay the hell away from KeyArena.

Image from inside the all employee meeting | Twitter

Microsoft employs 94,000 employees so upping the refresh cycle to get all employees on Windows 8 faster, handing out Surface RT products and giving out Windows Phone 8 devices will come at considerable expense. But when you are Microsoft, you are capable of doing these types of things to show loyalty to your employees and to move them onto the company's latest products.

Source: GeekWire

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I haven't read the internal e-mail yet, but on closer inspection, it appears that the following is true:

1. Everyone will get a Windows Phone 8 device.
2. Full-time employees (not part-time ones) will get a Surface RT tablet.
3. The PCs are for employees who would be normally given a computer anyway. These are labelled as MS assets, and not for employees to keep.

I'm a part-timer, so a phone is still good. I don't need another PC, and I'll get the Surface with my own money. Fair enough.

smart. there is a backlash is effect even before the public launch
so what better than to make sure your employees upgrade.
MS looks to me like they are just covering their own butt
and i bet it has almost no real motivation for rewarding employees etc

I think this is great, allthough dog-fooding can have serious consequences, if done correctly, it gives a sense of pride, because every one who works at Microsoft has made this possible. I don't just mean the programmers and well the ones Whos work is directly related to a computer, I mean this about each and every one of Microsofts Employees, if you fixed a toilet, move the lawn, or wash the windows (no pun), then you made this happen, and this is a celebration of your achievements as part of Microsoft, whatever and wherever they might be. This also shows that Microsoft is serious about making great products, because they are now depending on the greatness of their own products of the day, to make the products of tomorrow, Microsoft is betting the company on the greatness of their products, and I believe, rightly so. They are also ensuring almost a houndred thousand users to many of their new platforms, this _IS_ a great deal for developers, because now, even before Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface is available to customers, there is already 100'000 users there, waiting for your product, it's a market, before it is launched!

Please lose that word from the title. Just replace it with stuff or something.

Also the person above me, don't want to buy your products? Err, give me a link where I could by an Surface and I'll do it right now. It's easy to flame something that's not even on the market yet.

If people don't want to buy your products, just give it to them for free This is not about trying to be nice to your employees, the only reason they do this is to kickstart the Windows Phone 8 OS and get people talk about it... well they obviously need this advertising.

vacs said,
If people don't want to buy your products, just give it to them for free This is not about trying to be nice to your employees, the only reason they do this is to kickstart the Windows Phone 8 OS and get people talk about it... well they obviously need this advertising.

I agree, they should have given out Android or iPhones along with MacBooks and iPads - just to please you /s

PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN STOP USING THAT WORD!!!! Words that originate from uneducated rappers ARE NOT COOL.

Iridium said,
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN STOP USING THAT WORD!!!! Words that originate from uneducated rappers ARE NOT COOL.

They are using the original meaning of "Stuff We All Get"

Iridium said,
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN STOP USING THAT WORD!!!! Words that originate from uneducated rappers ARE NOT COOL.

what an incredibly stupid and racists comment to make .. It originated from rappers so what ?

Iridium said,
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN STOP USING THAT WORD!!!! Words that originate from uneducated rappers ARE NOT COOL.

Neowin - where unprofessional journalism looks better! It means we can use tabloidy headlines here and not be bothered ))

CAPS, however, is a whole other story

kinpin said,

what an incredibly stupid and racists comment to make .. It originated from rappers so what ?

How is it racist? Does it mention the race of anyone in that post?

Iridium said,
PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF DARWIN STOP USING THAT WORD!!!! Words that originate from uneducated rappers ARE NOT COOL.

haha, who's the uneducated one now, it doesn't mean what you or they think. MRP04 has it right.

metallithrax said,

How is it racist? Does it mention the race of anyone in that post?

Did he have to ? His stupid comment was borne out of racial prejudice...

kinpin said,

Did he have to ? His stupid comment was borne out of racial prejudice...


HAHAH, how did you derive that??? I was clearly wrong about what it meant, but Eminem is a rapper isnt he? Also borne? Is that like pretentious way of saying born? Like swag is for plain old simple cool?

Iridium said,

HAHAH, how did you derive that??? I was clearly wrong about what it meant, but Eminem is a rapper isnt he? Also borne? Is that like pretentious way of saying born? Like swag is for plain old simple cool?

well rappers are predominately black and "swag " is an "ebornic" term but in the way that the article of the article used in the article its a different word altogether. Swag is what journalist get when they attend press briefing, product announcement etc.. like the freebies Google gives out during their I/O conference
------------------------------------
Borne is the past participle of bear.. same as born. (both are right I think)

Another 'softie here and I echo what XX55XX said. Today affirmed once again why I chose to work here and the company's commitment to its employees. Take that Vanity Fair article with an entire salt mine worth of NaCl. It's easy to hate and NO system is perfect, but I'm more than pleased with how things are in general. On the employees, I thought we were closer to 40-50k in the Redmond/Seattle WA area for FTEs, but I could be wrong.

I work at MS (retail side). There was considerable hooplah when this was announced during my shift today. People were expecting to get a Surface, but no one expected to get a phone or a PC with it.

Anyways, I would like to thank Ballmer, the executive team, and the company for this gesture of generosity. I was planning to buy a Surface RT and a Lumia 920 at my own expense anyway in November, but this is nice. I just wonder when we'll be getting them. We've been getting a lot of questions at the store about the Surface, so I suspect we may be getting these freebies a few weeks after initial demand subsides.

Debamit Dutta said,
I wonder what windows 8 devices will they get ? Surely a lumia , the question is which one?
If they get the 920 , that would be sweet !!

i meant WP8 device

not sure about Surface RT is useful for software development , Surface Pro would have been a better choice

guru said,
not sure about Surface RT is useful for software development , Surface Pro would have been a better choice

Those aren't coming out until January, likely because they are using a special run of 10W Ivy Bridge parts. It's a good idea to give away cheaper tablets because the important thing is having a touchscreen device running Windows RT (any Microsoft employee should already have a powerful dev computer anyway).

Is that 94,000 in the headquarters location, in the US or world wide? I wonder how large the army is when contractors are added.

zeke009 said,
Is that 94,000 in the headquarters location, in the US or world wide? I wonder how large the army is when contractors are added.

94 is worldwide FTE's I believe.

Most of those are Seattle area offices though, I think I heard 75-80 in the Seattle area if I remember correctly.

zeke009 said,
Is that 94,000 in the headquarters location, in the US or world wide? I wonder how large the army is when contractors are added.

Contractors? You'll get nothing and like it!!

Daniel_Pooh said,
Microsoft is the best place in the world to work!

Pretty sure Google has won that award a few times in recent years.

Daniel_Pooh said,
Microsoft is the best place in the world to work!

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.

Edited by PC EliTiST, Sep 14 2012, 2:19am :

PC EliTiST said,

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.

That Vanity article is a bunch of malarkey. Focusing on 10 years as a whole rather than the last 5.

PC EliTiST said,

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.


I don't think that working at Microsoft can really be compared to working at Foxconn. Sure, the working conditions may have been less than ideal, but its not even remotely close to what is going on at Foxconn.

PC EliTiST said,

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.

The people quoted in that article don't work for Microsoft... Some used to and in my opinion are bitter that they weren't a good fit, or they just like blaming others for their own shortcomings. You can find that anywhere if you're looking for it.

The only pressure I get from my manager is to take more time off (there's a strong commitment to work-life balance).

PC EliTiST said,

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.


I work for MS now - been a blue-badge since 2005. Vanity Fair may have gotten some of the facts right, but their conclusions are pretty much wrong -at least from what I have seen since I started working there, most people are genuinely motivated to do their best. Sure, stack ranking sucks, but it is actually a pretty good way to weed out people who just aren't interested in making a difference. Don't want to get stack ranked - meet or exceed expectations - it is actually that simple. As for your comment "Many would wholeheartedly disagree"... obviously you don't work there...

Cant wait for my Oprah swag

PC EliTiST said,

Obviously you don't work there, do you? Many would wholeheartedly disagree. Did you read the Vanity's article "Microsoft's Lost Decade"? It speaks excessively for the employees and the psychologically poor working conditions. So much psychological pressure in the working environment is as unhealthy as working for Foxconn.

As a full-time employee since 2007, this statement is completely false. After working at EMC and other companies I can say that Microsoft has been the best company I have ever worked for. People that have never worked here always talk like they know or read an article and repeat it as fact. I plan on doing at least 20 years here and have passed up a lot of opportunities because of how much I like working here.