Microsoft employees are just getting out of their big company meeting at KeyArena in Seattle, and if you hear any of them comparing Steve Ballmer to Oprah, there’s a reason: The company announced a surprise package of tech products and upgrades for employees — including new Surface tablets for everyone.
The meeting was internal, so don’t expect any official announcement about this, but this is what we’re hearing …
1. Microsoft is accelerating the refresh cycle for employees’ work computers to move everyone to Windows 8 machines made by the company’s hardware partners. Normally the refresh cycle is three years, but the company is looking to move employees to the new operating system en masse.
Not incidentally, this also promises to make the distribution of Microsoft’s own Surface tablets to employees (see below) more palatable to those partners.
2. All employees will get new Windows Phone 8 devices for use at work and home. This is what Microsoft did for Windows Phone 7′s release, as well.
3. And the real attention-grabber: All full-time direct, employees (a.k.a. Blue Badges/FTEs) will get a Surface RT machine for use at work and home.
Despite the comparisons to Oprah, this is actually on a much larger scale. Microsoft employs more than 94,000 people worldwide.