Microsoft permits employees to take second jobs -- as WP7 developers

Aiming to expand the Windows Phone 7 app library, Redmond bends its strict moonlighting policy in exchange for a 30 percent cut

Microsoft has some catching up to do in the mobile space, and part of its strategy to make up lost ground is to lean a bit on its employees. Not only is the company giving all Microsofties free Windows Phone 7 devices; it's "letting" developers create WP7 apps in their spare time -- in exchange for 30 percent of the profits.

Microsoft's free WP7 phone offer isn't new: The company told its employees they'd be getting tasty servings of Microsoft-brand mobile dog food last July, which is a quick and easy way to increase the number of WP7 phones users (or owners, at any rate) by the tens of thousands.

Now Microsoft is keen to get more WP7 apps on the market to compete with the array of available Android and iOS wares. To that end, according to the New York Times, Microsoft has adjusted its strict moonlighting policy. Generally, employees aren't permitted to have second jobs outside of Microsoft.

However, Steve Ballmer has deemed it acceptable for Microsofties to burn the midnight oil to develop WP7 applications. As a deal sweetener, participating employees get to keep all of the intellectual property for what they create, plus 70 percent of the profits, according to the Times. The other 30 percent goes right back to Microsoft.

Arguably, Microsoft might better incentivize employees to hammer out WP7 apps if they could do it during part of their work day; after all, it's possible that an app will be a dismal failure, and the creator will have nothing to show for it (except, perhaps, some hypertension or bags under the eyes from working so many hours).

Notably, Nokia, Microsoft's new go-to phone partner, is taking Redmondesque measures to get developers working on apps for WP7. The company said this month it planned to give its developers free E7 devices (which runs Symbian), as well as a free WP7 devices when they start rolling off the lines.

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