Microsoft freebies: Ballmer to give all employees free Surface tablet, PC and phone

Microsoft Surface Tablet display screen apple ipad killerMicrosoft’s annual employee bash took place in Seattle this week, an event off-limits to the media and public. With Steve Ballmer at the helm, the gathering usually involves a spot of perspiration, speeches from various Microsoft executives and, this year, free stuff.

All 90,000+ full-time employees of the Redmond-based computer company are set to receive not one, not even two, but three lots of free goodies, according to a Forbes report.

Ballmer promised his army of workers an RT Surface tablet, a Windows 8 PC and a Windows Phone 8 device. While workers will be free to use the tablet and phone at home and for work, the PC is for work only.

The report said some employees posted messages on Twitter and Facebook expressing their delight at their boss’s announcement, with one describing it as the “Best. Company meeting. Ever.”

It’s a generous giveaway, for sure, but it’s also designed to get Microsoft employees up and running with its new products and next-generation OS, scheduled for launch next month.

Microsoft will also want to get its workers familiar with its new Surface tablet, and hopefully singing its praises to anyone who’ll listen. The Surface marks the computer giant’s entry into the tablet market, already crammed with competitors, and dominated by Apple with its mass-selling iPad.

The Surface has a 10.6-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio and comes with a Touch Cover keyboard. The tablet comprises two models, one running Windows 8 Pro and a more basic version running Windows RT.

The RT model will hit stores at the end of next month while the Surface Pro isn’t expected to be available until early 2013.