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. 



Comments (43)
  1. …all you have to do is attend the Vista/Office launch event for developers were such leading visionaries

  2. Ian Horwill says:

    Will people who actually attend the event be able to get copies?

  3. Richard says:

    Great news …

    Now all I need to do is convince my client to let me watch it all day 🙁

  4. Ian Moulster says:

    Ian – I’m only able to talk about the online event. Drop me an email if you need further detail.

    Richard – hopefully you can squeeze in some viewing during the day….

  5. No thanks. says:

    Why spend time and money to get bloated products which don’t really change over time when there are free alternatives.

  6. James says:

    Hi, this all sounds great, but like most developers i’ll be at work on launch day!

    although i shall follow events for an hour or so during the day is this likely to give me the answer to the questions to qualify for the freebies, or would i need to be ‘watching’ for most of the day?

  7. Ian Walker says:

    OK, event is full, how will all us others get to hear about ‘the questions’ to answer for the giveaways?

  8. Ian Moulster says:

    To the "no thanks" guy: thanks for your views.

    To James: You need to watch as much as you can, I can’t really say more than that. Sorry, I know it won’t be ideal for everybody. The sessions are available for viewing any time of course, so you could watch them later, we don’t know how quickly we’ll rack up the 1000 figure

    To Ian: All of this only applies to the online launch, which has no ceiling. The physical event is full, but every above doesn’t apply to the physical event.

  9. Lee says:

    When will the event start on the 19th?

  10. Ian Moulster says:

    Lee – keynote starts at 9.15am. See for full agenda for day 1.

  11. Angus Lepper says:

    Sorry if this is mentioned somewhere (I did take a look at this post and comments in addition to the entry linked to at the start but couldn’t find it), but will registration be required in advance for attending the on-line launch or can it be a sort of ‘spur of the moment’ thing?


  12. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Angus, I did sneak it into the middle of a block of text on the above post: "You don’t need to register to watch or download these". But it was probably easy to miss so thanks for raising it.

    So the answer is that no pre-registration is required, and in fact we won’t require you to tell us anything about yourself in order to watch the videos. Just turn up and watch.

    We will need your details if you register for the software of course (we need to know where to send it if you’re one of the first 1000).

    So you might ask "does that mean I’ll get spammed to death if I tell you my details when registering for the software? Is this just a cunning Microsoft scheme to get a whole load of contact details?". The answer is no, if you indicate that you don’t want us to contact you – and there will be an option to do so – we absolutely won’t. You wouldn’t believe how strict our policies are on this, if you tick that box there’s no way on earth anyone will be using your details other than to send the software if you’re eligible.

  13. Jon says:

    Im glad Microsoft are finally doing some good things in the UK, lets hope others start follow suit and maybe we can look forward to a UK CES or WinHEC in the future.

    Will all the sessions be available after the event? I’m attending the launch in reading but it would be usefull to be able to watch them again after the event.

  14. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Jon – yes, the sessions will be available from Jan 19th to Feb 19th on the website, and the day 2 assignment will also be available during the same period.

    So that means that even if you come to the event you can still watch all of the sessions you missed, or maybe just re-view sessions you’ve already attended.

  15. John says:

    Should we bring a laptop to the event / is there wifi?

  16. Ian Moulster says:

    John – you can bring a laptop but there won’t be wifi unfortunately. Or at least, there is wifi, but access won’t be available for security reasons.

    For day 2 we’re providing machines for you to use.

    So feel free to bring it if you want to make notes etc, however you won’t be able to use the internet unless you’re using a mobile phone to connect.

  17. Yeah when I went to the TechNet EVO Launch I was kind of suprised there was no WiFi considering it was kind of a big event, I guess apart from the security issues there’s also less Tech Bloggers going to these events, most people who like to blog about these events live will go to the US ones. It’s definetly time to start seeing more things like this happening over here.

  18. Ian Moulster says:

    The IT Services people who run the facility are pretty draconian when it comes to security as you’d want them to be. However I agree with you this is something we need and I’ll definitely pass your comments to the team. I believe there is a plan in place to make this available generally but there’s no harm in pushing the wheel around a bit. It won’t happen for this event but we may see it happen in future.

    Note that most the of US conferences that offer this are pay-for events. If we start running pay-for events here it will be a definite requirement.


  19. A number of people have been asking the following quite reasonable question: We know that we’re giving

  20. Alan Curtis says:

    It says above :-

    "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."

    Where will I find the instructions on how to view online at the same time as they’re happening there at your office in Reading ?

    Do I need to install any software in order to view the broadcast ?

  21. It will be fun getting my bos to let me view the online sessions! I already put in for the Roadshow in glasgow in Febuary, and I am not even sure if that will happen..

  22. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Alan,

    If you visit the launch site (ie on 19th Jan a link to the keynote will appear, and links to the sessions will be put up immediately after the keynote. These are WMV files, you will be able to either stream them or download them.

  23. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Martin – well best of luck 🙂

    As for the roadshow, hopefully we’ll see you there.

  24. Alan Curtis says:

    I did ask previously whether I need to install any software in order to view the broadcast but you never answered this question.

    What software and which versions (operating system and application program) must I have installed on a machine in order to stream the WMV files and view them ?

    Windows XP Media Centre Edition ?

    Windows Media Player running under Windows XP ?

    Is it too late to arrange for the sessions to be streamed onto the large screen in the Swimming Pool at Microsoft’s office in Great Pulteney Street in London as it is very easy for me to hop onto an underground train to the West End ?

  25. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Alan, as long as you can view WMV videos you’re ok. Nothing else is required (so a default installation of XP will be fine).

    We won’t be able to stream to the London offices unfortunately, but the whole idea is that you’ll be able to view from home or office via the online option.

  26. john says:

    "At some point on Friday 19th we’ll open up a registration site for the software giveaway"

    How will you notify us of the site and when you open it?

  27. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi John,

    A link will be posted to the launch site, It will appear during the afternoon so that people have time to watch the sessions before the link appears.

    Sorry I was vague in the original blog post, I wasn’t trying to be intentionally obtuse, it’s just that the exact details were being worked out at the time and I didn’t want to say something that turned out to be wrong.

  28. crazydave says:

    next question… where are the sessions…?

  29. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi Dave,

    See my reply to a comment on a later blog post, but to save you hunting here’s what I said:

    "If it’s confusing for you then it probably is for others….so apologies for that.

    You don’t need to pre-register for the online launch event so there’s nothing you need to do now. On the 19th, visit the launch website ( and links will appear to the keynote and other sessions. Also, the competition link for the software will appear on the same site later in the day.

    So is the only link you need. Everything will appear there on Friday and Saturday".

    If you’re still not sure please let me know – I want to ensure people know how to take part……..

  30. crazydave says:

    sorry for some reason I thought today was the 19th, so was confused as to why there were no links… 😎

  31. Ian Moulster says:


    It’s actually a relief to know that….thanks!

  32. Josh says:

    Do we have to view the videos online 1st or can we just guess the question anyway?

  33. preyingrazor says:

    I think this is a great initiative by Microsoft. It will really ensure that developers put their heart into making new applications for Vista!

    But it’s 5:40pm now and still no sign of the link on the event page. (

  34. James says:

    It is up now at:

    Just hope you guys watched the videos!

    p.s. when are the results announced?


  35. crazydave says:

    17:45 and no sign of the registration link – are  you behind schedule or am i looking in the wrong place…?


  36. eugene heanue says:

    hi just watched the video, software looks great, but, where is the link for the software competition, as i am frothing at the mouth here with anticipation

  37. Matt says:

    Wasn’t the customer the london underground or am I missing somthing?

  38. Ian Moulster says:

    Matt – London Underground was one of the customers (but they aren’t on the list of answers), there were others in other sessions.

  39. QC says:

    Hi, will Microsoft be contacting the winners to notify them of their success?

  40. Buckie says:

    Hu Ian, many thanks for the help you give me with the registration process. I was at the event in reading and looked all over for you, everyone I asked if they had seen you said, oh he was over there a minute ago…..So never got to thank you personaly.

    The Event was great the .Net one my fav, I met some great people there too, However they, we, all said the same thing, How come people at home get the chance to get both Vista and Office, and us who braved the winds and storms only get a choice of either Vista OR Office, we all thought that Microsoft were being a bit mean for the 500 or so attendee’s.

    Anyhow, how are we to convice our yeams at work to up-grade to Vista and Office if we only have 1, I myself was planning to install them on my laptop and do some work (Something like the London Underground) and show them…..

    All in All it was a great day, I had to cut short and not stay for the second day as the threats of more Gales were forcast so I had to do the 480 mile trip back.

    regards Ian and all the best….

  41. Ian Moulster says:

    Hi buckie, sorry I missed you. It was a bit hectic 🙂

  42. Harmanjeet says:

    Please get me a DVD of Windows VISTA. I need it badly. I hope that you will not disappoint me.

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