Microsoft gives Oprah treatment to employees

Posted by Mark Raby

"You get a Windows 8 Phone, you get a Surface tablet...everybody gets a Microsoft device!"Microsoft had a stroke of great generosity at its annual employee meeting, announcing that every one of its 90,000 employees will be getting a free Surface tablet, a Windows Phone 8 phone, and a new Windows 8-powered device of their choice -- a desktop, laptop, ultrabook, or tablet.

While the company didn't make a public declaration about the giveaway, people from inside the closed-off meeting wasted no time in bragging about it on Facebook and Twitter, with some comparing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to Oprah.

The promotion is valid for full-time workers directly employed by Microsoft, but that totals nearly 100,000 people.

Microsoft has been known to offer employee giveaways for new products before, in the hopes that it will have a viral word-of-mouth effect, essentially turning the tens of thousands of employees into powerful brand ambassadors.

There has never been a promotion quite so grand before, though. The purpose is no doubt to hammer home Microsoft's growing strategy of getting consumers to connect across its different platforms. So it doesn't just want you to get a Windows Phone 8 phone, it wants you to have a phone that you'll connect to your Surface tablet and your laptop and your home PC.