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Microsoft to spend £80m on Surface tablet and Windows Phone 8 staff giveaway

14 Sep 2012
Microsoft Surface

Microsoft is preparing to splash out tens of millions of dollars to build momentum for its forthcoming Surface RT tablet and Windows Phone 8 handsets, by giving them away for free to its 94,000-strong workforce.

According to a report by Forbes, Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer made the promise at the company's annual staff meeting, held in Seattle. The cost of such an offer is likely to range between £80m and £100m.

While the giveaway would barely dent Microsoft's revenues, it could make a small but important bump for Surface shipments.

According to analyst firm Gartner, Microsoft is expected to ship somewhere in the region of 4.86 million tablets in 2012. Handing out 94,000 Surface RT tablets would equate to about two percent of those expected shipments.

Meanwhile, Ballmer has previously predicted that there will be 500 million Windows 8 users by 2013. While his promise apparently extended to supplying all full-time employees with a new PC, that largesse will not help much in reaching that target.

But with Windows 8 and to a lesser extent Windows Phone 8 seen as departures from its traditional software, Microsoft is keen to get people to see its technology in action.

This is not the first time that Microsoft has portrayed itself as a company that likes to eat its own dog food. It made a similar promise when releasing Windows 7.

Microsoft has not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.

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