Microsoft gives all its employees a new phone, tablet and PC… and I think that’s real smart

Geekwire reported on Friday that Microsoft announced at their annual employee conference that every full-time employee will receive a brand spankin’ new Windows 8 mobile device, Windows 8 computer and a new Surface Tablet – for work and private use.

With over 90,000 full-time employees, this is not an inexpensive exercise… with a generous estimate of $1000 (cost price) per head for a phone, a PC and the Surface tablet, it’s over 90 million bucks. So why would they do this? (And why do I think it’s probably one of the smartest ways to spend 90 million bucks?)

  • It shows they are committed to their product – that they believe in their product – and it will help the employees of Microsoft remain focussed and passionate about their mission. Microsoft are coming late to the party when it comes to the mobile and tablet space, and the Windows Phone ecosystem is at a critical stage where it needs to really take off, and quick – and the whole team at Microsoft will have to keep true to the mission to make it happen.
  • It’s a sign of confidence to the outside world. Microsoft is saying; “we can afford to have all our employees using these – they will be successful”.
  • It also shows commitment to their employees, and will be seen as a nice bonus gift by everyone.
  • It turns every single one of their employees into an immediate marketer and ambassador. Sure, they all are (or should be) anyway – but when they actually have the physical product in their hands to show their friends and family, it is quite something else. Every Microsoft employee will be an expert ambassador, and will spread the word and passion to the rest of the world. It’s seeding the market with 90,000 highly engaged customers.

A company’s best and most passionate ambassadors should be the employees themselves. Making sure they are up to date with the latest products is a smart way to make every employee a vigorous promoter.

Plus: $90 is small change relative to Microsoft’s 261 billion market cap.

Around Here Wiki: put your surroundings on the map

My second Windows 7 Phone app is here!

I’ve recently been experimenting with developing small apps for the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem. My second app, now available in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace, takes Wikipedia articles in the area around you and puts them on the map.

Discover what’s around you with a tap. The Around Here Wiki app puts you and all the world encyclopedia Wikipedia on the map: together.

Have you ever walked through an unfamilar city and wondered: “What’s that old building over there?” Just pull out the Around Here Wiki, and you’ll find out.

“Is there anything interesting around here to look at?” Around Here Wiki can tell you.

Around Here Wiki is clean, simple and no-fuss. No fancy effects or unnecessary information – just the facts. Want to know more? Just follow the link to the full article on

You’ll always know what’s around you.

Around Here Wiki - Screenshot 1Around Here Wiki - Screenshot 1

Around Here Wiki - Screenshot 1Around Here Wiki - Screenshot 1

Download it for your Windows 7 Phone here. Don’t forget to rate it!

Soundtrack: Life – give your life a soundtrack

Soundtrack: Life - give your life a soundtrack

Have you ever wished your life was a movie? In the movies, there’s always the right sound effect ready to roll for every moment. Sometimes our lives need a soundtrack too.

That’s why I created my first ever Windows 7 mobile application called Soundtrack: Life. You can install it on your Windows 7 phone here.

Soundtrack: Life is an application to let you give your life the soundtrack it deserves. With Soundtrack: Life, you always have the appropriate sound effect or musical score ready whenever your life needs it.

Soundtrack: Life - give your life a soundtrack
Soundtrack: Life - give your life a soundtrack

I chose Windows 7 Phone as the development platform mostly because that is now the standard platform for Nokia smart devices, and Nokia is gearing up to announce our first Windows 7 phones at Nokia World soon. I expect the numbers of Windows 7 Phone users to increase dramatically when Nokia starts bringing out great new Windows 7 devices.

Learning to program in .NET (had never used .NET or Silverlight before) was an interesting experience. It proved to me once again that learning something new is a hugely rewarding experience. I don’t much like letting my mind stay idle for too long, and little projects like this keep my energy and attention up.

I’ve got more Windows 7 apps on the way… stay tuned!