Microsoft Employees Receiving Free Surface Tablets, PCs, WP8 Smartphones

Full-time employees at Microsoft are about to receive a big thank you gift in the form of free Surface tablets, PCs, and WP8 smartphones. The announcement was made at an internal company meeting at the Key Arena in Seattle.

The free gifts won’t come cheap; Microsoft currently employs more than 90,000 full-time staff members who they lovingly refer to as “blue badges.”

The Surface tablet devices being given to employees will run on Windows RT and will be available for work or home use.

In terms of desktop systems, Microsoft has sped up the refresh rate for replacement systems. Instead of a three year refresh rate, employees will immediately receive new Windows 8 enabled desktop computers so they can further prepare for the October release of the Windows 8 OS.

The desktop PCs will be provided by various Microsoft hardware manufacturers.

Microsoft employees will then receive brand new smartphones. Microsoft had previously handed employees Windows Phone 7 smartphones at no cost, devices that will now be replaced by Windows Phone 8 products, again at no cost.

At this time, it is not clear whether a specific WP8 smartphone will be given to Microsoft employees or if they will have the option to choose among a line of devices.