Brandon Watson, the man in charge of the Developer Experience team for Windows Phone 7, has just made a blog post that provides further explanation as to why Microsoft is doing this:
In the last couple of days since Andy’s announcement that all employees would get free Windows Phone 7s, we’ve seen a lot of buzz about the offer, including some around why we were doing it.
So why did we do it? Put simply, we did it for the employees. If you speak to any software developer or hacker, they will tell you that they love writing code. They love solving problems. They love creating things. They love sharing their work with their friends and peers. They love the satisfaction of seeing something work on a screen. Unfortunately, when you work for a company, most of them generally have pretty stringent rules about moonlighting, and the ownership of IP. For software companies, this usually includes code and side projects. Microsoft is no different.
With this new mobile app era upon us, the Windows Phone team felt it important that we enable our own employees to participate. There are so many talented, technical people at Microsoft. It’s not just professional software developers…many Microsofties love coding, and they work on projects in their spare time.
We believe most Microsofties want to write apps for Windows Phone 7. Before last week, and the changes announced in our policies, they couldn’t. They would not have been able to profit from those projects. We made these changes specifically to address the desire of our own employees to express themselves in code in the app marketplace. A funny thing happens when you remove friction and barriers among a group of creative people. I can’t wait to see what they create.
The internal response has been overwhelming. I can’t count the number of languages in which we heard “thank you” while at our global sales summit last week.