Hooray for free work! Microsoft is really hoping that its employees will lend a hand and develop Windows Phone 7 applications during their spare time. Everyone knows that mobile applications is where it’s at, and that the success of a platform and its handsets depend largely on the quality and number of apps available for it. In addition to handing out free Windows Phone 7 devices to its employees, Microsoft is now looking to call on those willing to develop applications for the platform.
There’s no word on whether employees who develop apps for Windows Phone 7 will be paid, and if they are, how they will be paid. If not, this is strictly just devotion to their employer and the products they build. Microsoft is asking its employees to evangelize the new product, and even for some of the more jaded employees, it might be a good idea to do so.
Fans of Microsoft and Windows Mobile feel like this is really going to make or break Microsoft, especially after dipping its toes in the waters with KIN. That all turned out to be a royal disaster and ended up costing the software giant quite a bit.
Here is a copy of the memo sent out by Andy Lees, Microsoft’s mobile chief, to employees:
From: Andy Lees
To: “Microsoft – All Employees
Subject: Getting you in the game with Windows Phone 7
Momentum is building for Windows Phone 7! Last week we released the WP7 Tech Preview and beta development tools on the web, and started shipping phones to developers and some early reviewers. Excitement will continue to build as we accelerate to launch for Fall, disclosing more details on final hardware design from our partners, unique applications, and Xbox Live games and much more!
With all the buzz, a lot of you are asking how you can get your hands on a phone and get more involved. So, I am thrilled to announce that a new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world. The process will vary based on your market, your carrier, and your launch date so stay tuned for more information closer to launch.
When you get your phone, the first thing you can do it MAKE IT PERSONAL! Pick up the phone, turn it on, download mail, get directions, make calls, find friends…. In short USE IT! The experience of Windows Phone 7 is special and a big step toward our future in the mobile phone business. We’d love all of you to love it as much as we on the team love it. To do that we need to you to use your phone and find the things that make it personal and valuable to you.
There is also a lot you can do while we are heading to launch even before you get your phone including:
Understand the unique value of Windows Phone 7 and evangelize to your customers, partners, friends and family! Windows Phone 7 is a different kind of phone, designed to bring together the things you care about most. The new smart design makes even basic tasks more efficient while Windows Phone Hubs organize the web and applications to simplify what you do every day. It is much more than a phone operating system, it is software and services integrated to create a new type of experience. WP7 has been a cross company effort bringing together an amazing breadth of Microsoft assets for the first time including Windows, Windows Live, Bing, Zune, Xbox Live, Office, Exchange, SharePoint, Silverlight, .NET, XNA and Visual Studio!
Develop! With the help of the developer division, we just shipped the Final Beta of the Windows Phone Developer Tools. They absolutely rock, and you should download them now http://developer.windowsphone.com/. The package includes everything you need to start building apps. In addition, we’ve introduced a new employee developer program which makes it much easier for you to develop apps for Marketplace in your spare time. … And if you need some help jumpstarting your development, check out the Windows Phone Developer Training Kit. …
Get involved in launch. Dedicate time to get involved as WP7 launches in your market. …
We can’t wait to launch. We’ve got a great product and a great team in all of you. There is a phone being built with your name on it! Get in the game of delighting the world with Windows Phone 7! …
The mobile team certainly sounds enthusiastic! Will employees answer the call and develop WP7 apps? After all, it seems like all the tools and resources they’ll need will be provided, and their employer definitely seems eager to help. Only time will tell, but while this might be asking for free work, I’d certainly hope that plenty of devs, employees or not, jump on the bandwagon. In terms of high quality mobile platforms out there, the more the merrier.