Microsoft expecting up to 20,000 at employee meeting Friday

Microsoft will hold its giant annual company meeting — the one for employees, not shareholders — at Safeco Field in Seattle on Friday starting at 10 a.m. This is a private gathering, not for the public or press, but it’s essentially a big pep rally and company update starring the company’s executives and occasional special guests.

Historians will remember that this was also the setting, a couple years ago, for the incident in which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer pretended to stomp on the iPhone of an employee who had the misfortune of attempting to take his picture with one of the Apple devices. We trust there will only be Windows Phones in the audience tomorrow, or at least only Windows Phones visible when Ballmer makes his entrance.

The meeting averages between 18,000 and 20,000 employees each year, with Microsoft transporting as many as possible via bus and shuttle to minimize traffic tie-ups. It starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.

“As has been our practice, the Company Meeting will contain a review of the past year, a look ahead at some of the work and projects underway and some fun elements along the way,” said Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos via email. “But, since this is a private internal session for employees, we are not sharing any details of the meeting beyond that.”

No word on any celebrity guests, but it’s a safe bet that there will be a Windows 8 demo or two along the way.

Hat tip to Janet Tu of the Seattle Times for pointing this one out.

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