Yes we really are giving away 1000 free copies of Windows Vista and Office 2007 to UK developers

A while ago, I posted a blog entry about a free software giveaway we were planning for the UK online developer launch event. As I haven't said much about it since you may wonder if it's actually going ahead. Well have no fear, yes it's absolutely going ahead.

Our thinking has moved on a bit since we first dreamed up the concept but it's still pretty much what we originally had in mind. It looks like this:

  • We will be giving 1000 copies of Windows Vista Ultimate, and 1000 copies of Office Professional 2007 to developers who take part in our online launch event
  • What do we mean by “take part”? On Friday 19th January we will broadcast the keynote live, then make all of the technical sessions available for viewing online at the same time as they’re happening here at our office in Reading. You don’t need to register to watch or download these. At some point on Friday 19th we’ll open up a registration site for the software giveaway – in order to be eligible people will have to answer one question relating to the Windows Vista track (to be in line for a copy of Windows Vista) and one relating to the Office track (to be in line for a copy of Office). While the questions are fairly easy if you’ve watched the sessions, they will be difficult if you haven’t. Assuming you answer the question correctly, and are one of the first 1000 people to do so, you’ll get a free copy. Obviously if you answer both questions correctly and are one of the first 1000 of each, you could get both products
  • What are the caveats? Not many: You need to have a UK address for us to ship the product to, and we’ll only ship the product when we have it, which could be some time after January (ie it won’t be immediate). Other fairly standard T&Cs apply.

As for why we're doing this - developers are vitally important to us, and vitally important to me too (I'm in the Developer & Platform group in Microsoft, the part of the organisation that focuses on software developers). We wanted to make sure that as many of you as possible get your hands on these products so that you can start to experience them and build applications on top of them. This seemed a reasonable way to achieve that.

It isn't something we undertook lightly either, and did involve some people from the high reaches of the organisation in Redmond when the decision was made to do it, but it was really good to see that everyone involved immediately saw the value of developers and enthusiastically supported what we're trying to achieve.

As I said before....we love developers :-)

Oh and PS: You may wonder why we're making you answer a question to be eligible. Pretty simply, this is to ensure that as far as possible only people who are developers and have a genuine interest in development on these platforms are eligible.