Microsoft CEO Ballmer gestures during the "Windows Phone 7" presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer gestures during the "Windows Phone 7" presentation at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 15, 2010.REUTERS

Microsoft has announced that it will hand-out free WP7 Phone's on its release later this year as it drives forward its plans for a smartphone market share.

The company which has boosted earnings out today through Windows 7 hopes that its seventh edition handset software can make a similar impact.

Phones are expected to start selling in a 'holiday season' atmosphere in what will be a significant moment for the company that has invested both its former Windows Mobile and its 'failed' Kin teams in the project.

Microsoft's Kin, a social networking device for 'heavy users', was disbanded after just one month on sale.

The Windows Phone 7 Series is a rejuvenated project featuring 'live' animation on hubs that change with news moving on the social networks, twitter feeds to which a phone is connected.

The phone is expected to retail from November, and employees will be able to access it for free, by paying the wireless and/or 3G network charges.

"While specific details are still being finalized, we have announced that a new Windows Phone 7 will be made available to every Microsoft employee as we launch in each market around the world. We're excited and remain on track to bring Windows Phone 7 to market this holiday." said a spokesman for Microsoft.

The move mirrors a similar attempt by Apple who gifted employees who'd been working at the company more than a year a free iPhone on its launch.