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Microsoft to Staff: Make WP7 Apps On Own Time

Thursday we reported that Microsoft was handing out Windows Phone 7 devices to every employee. As Jane indicated, this would be an excellent way for Microsoft to iron out any bugs before the OS hits the streets later this year. and while that indeed may be the case, Microsoft apparently has other plans.

According to an internal memo, Microsoft mobile chief Andy Lees is actually suggesting that employees develop apps for the device on their own "spare" time. Although it won't be a requirement, the memo clearly shows that Microsoft is gathering its troop in order to take on Apple and Google--on and off the clock.

"We’ve introduced a new employee developer program which makes it much easier for you to develop apps for Marketplace in your spare time," Lees said in the memo. "And if you need some help jumpstarting your development, check out the Windows Phone Developer Training Kit."

The memo points to the Final Beta of the Windows Phone Developer Tools located here. As Lees stated, the package includes everything a developer needs to start building apps for the new mobile OS.

In addition to app development, Lees encouraged all employees to get personal with the device. "Understand the unique value of Windows Phone 7 and evangelize to your customers, partners, friends and family! Windows Phone 7 is a different kind of phone," he said.

There was no indication of what would happen if employees completely ignored the device and cheated with another platform.