Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft

Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops 308

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-where's-mine dept.
Slinky writes "According to at least six bloggers, Microsoft has been sending out free top-of-the-line laptops pre-loaded with Vista as a 'no strings attached gifts'. This 'reward' for their hard work on covering tech in general is coincidentally right before the launch of Vista to consumers. To be clear, these weren't loans, they were gifts, and they were top-of-the-line Acer Ferrari laptops. Microsoft blogger Long Zheng broke the silence over the source of the freebies."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:14PM (#17377278)
    That I'm a whore and can be bought. Please send my free laptop to:

    Anonymous Coward
    555 Mockingbird Lane
    Anywhere, KS 51248

    I look forward to "reviewing" Vista for you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by abscissa (136568)
      Hey, if you can get a first post on Slashdot, you deserve a free laptop!
      • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#17377982)
        A free laptop that downscales and then reupscales all "unprotected" high quality signals that pass through it? Just to cover the mere possibility that you didn't pay for something? A laptop designed to detect the slightest analog voltage fluctuations, and inject crap bits into the system to make it crash, just in case you attach an alligator clip to your sound card to get free music? Or with remotely destructible device drivers that are disabled by Microsoft once the RIAA learns about a driver vulnerability that allows leakage of "protected content"? No thanks. [auckland.ac.nz]

        Someone should get the list of developers who got free laptops, so we can send them Knoppix CDs as "no strings attached gifts". These laptops already need rescuing.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gurps_npc (621217)
          Step 1. Take the laptop.

          Step 2. Reformat Hard Drive.

          Step 3. Install Linux or whatever other Os of your choice.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by MysticOne (142751)
            I think a lot of this junk may be at the hardware level, though. So chances are the alternative OS you choose simply won't work with any of the hardware that requires this nonsense.
            • It wouldn't matter even if it was. If the OS you have installed does not support the anti-enjoyment filters that the MPAA and the RIAA are so keen on imposing, then nothing can be done. I would love to get my hands on one of those laptops.
    • It looks like Microsoft is trying to promote Vista and would like prominent bloggers to have access to it in order to write about it on their websites. No different from record labels sending promos to music journalists, or game companies sending software to reviewers.

      How is this "bribing?"
      • by Professor_UNIX (867045) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:53PM (#17377888)
        No different from record labels sending promos to music journalists, or game companies sending software to reviewers. How is this "bribing?"
        Sending them a 30-day trial of Vista to evaluate is one thing, sending them a very expensive laptop preloaded with Vista is quite another. It'd be like record labels sending journalists a free 80 gig iPod and stereo speakers with every new song they're promoting.
        • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:03PM (#17378014)
          It'd be like record labels sending journalists a free 80 gig iPod and stereo speakers with every new song they're promoting.

          Well, record labels will send free CDs, t-shirts, and other materials. Movie studios will fly reviewers out to special reviewer-only screenings of their films in a high-end theater. Microsoft wants Vista to be run on the best possible hardware for it, so they'll send out laptops with Vista preloaded. Apparently, Slashdotters are just now realizing how the industry has worked for decades. It's in the best interests of the companies for reviewers to have access to their products for review, because all this stuff is expensive and can be hard to find.

          You do realize they can send the laptop back to Microsoft when they're done reviewing Vista on it, right?
          • by ronanbear (924575) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:29PM (#17378416)
            Journalists have another boss and they are supposed to have professional standards. Bloggers are more easily bought.

            If Microsoft didn't engage in astroturfing and sent out Microsoft products then people wouldn't blink. Instead bloggers are being put into ethical conflict just as much as if they took a cheque from Microsoft.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Junta (36770)
            I agree at its core, it isn't technically a bribe, but it is questionable.

            Well, record labels will send free CDs, t-shirts, and other materials.

            CDs are a requisite for review, so they don't count. Since they are the product in themselves, no one is inclined to get even more samples of something they don't like. If someone doesn't like Nickelback, they won't lie and say they love Nickelback to get more Nickelback CDs. Now if they shipped a high quality stereo to play the CD on, that would be an analogy. shirts and trinkets are marketing fluff that no one tracks and it doe

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by BewireNomali (618969)
          Record companies actually do this and more for premiere and/or favored artists. Floor tickets to athletic contests, concert tickets with backstage passes, escorts, etc. Payola, it's called.

          • by The_Laughing_God (253693) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @04:19PM (#17380486)

            Um... Payola [wikipedia.org] is illegal (in the US, anyway: YCMV) precisely because it was determined to be bribery. Originally "Payola" [Pay + Victrola] was a newspaper-coined name for a 1950s music industry scandal which resulted in fines and criminal convictions.

            Today (well, for almost 50 years, really), the industry gets around the FCC regs and Payola laws by hiring "independent record promoters (not to be confused with "independent record producers"). They pay regional promoters, and the promoters pay the local radio stations. Indeed that is the sole function of these promoters, per first hand accounts, frequent reporting in the media, songs by popular groups and even Slashdot, where this issue has been discussed several times a year for ages (2001 article) [slashdot.org]). Sadly there is little political capital (and even fewer music/advertising industry contributions) to be found in pursuing it, and the FCC has turned a blind eye.

            It's not just tickets to concerts or athletic events, it's expensive junkets and outright cash to program directors and radio stations, often billed as "promotion funding" (e.g. they give $1000 or some knickknacks to the radio station to be used as a prizes in a station promotion, and another $1000 or $5000 to the manager/director or station to pay for "administering" the promotion itself. The result is precisely the same as the outright bribery of the original scandal.

            In recent years, NY State Atty Gen Elliot has prosecuting some of these these third party promoter arrangements as violations of his state's payola laws. Unless/until some federal prosecutor takes a case to court and gets a precedent saying it is an illegal circumvention of the payola rules/laws, it remains a legal loophole on the federal level.

        • Bribery and Blogging (Score:4, Interesting)

          by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @08:44PM (#17383046) Homepage
          I think that if it's disclosed, and the blogger continues to write, his bias will become pretty clear and whatever change he makes will be clear too.

          Many, many years ago, I ran an anti-Microsoft web site and Microsoft contacted me and sent me Windows NT 4.0. It was less bad than Windows95, but it didn't change my opinion and my site remained as it was. They just told me that they wanted me to have their latest stuff, so that I could write honestly about it. I respeted that.

          Truthfully, I think Microsoft did this to solve a curious little problem. Most bloggers aren't rich, and they're going to try and run Windows Vista on a computer that can barely run XP. So give them a gift, so they can run Vista the way it was meant to be run.

          To amplify this a bit, I have a Windows PC right next to my PowerBook that's less than six months old. I ran the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor on it and it sort of wimpered and slunk off with a "Vista Basic once you upgrade it to 1GB RAM from 512MB" recommendation. It's blazing fast running XP, with a 2.8ghz Pentium IV. An Apple computer of the same vintage would have no trouble at all running Tiger or Leopard.

          I think most bloggers are not going to be influenced by the gifts per se, but they will be nicer about Vista since they have a machine on which it will run well, which they might well otherwise not be able to obtain.

          I'm not sure if that's good or bad, fair or unfair. After all, most people on the ground nowadays are buying $799 laptops that do not have a prayer of running Vista. But truthfully, I think there's enough information about Vista's performance out there for people to be able to make up their own minds, and so Microsoft's efforts will have little genuine impact.

          I'm glad the bloggers will at least get some cool free stuff. We all like that. It's a pity that Apple's legendary customer loyalty makes steps like this entirely superflurous for the likes of me who would not mind a free MacBook Pro at all :-).

          D
      • by mspohr (589790)
        The situation is similar to that of our elected officials accepting gifts and campaign contributions from big corps (and small-time hustlers) and then voting for legislation to help the contributors.

        They claim that they were not influenced by the gifts but we all know they are lying.

    • by Nate B. (2907) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @02:30PM (#17379176) Homepage Journal
      The proper ZIP code is 66655

      51248 is nowhere close to KS.

  • top of the line? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spotter (5662) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:15PM (#17377300)
    Since when is an "Acer Ferari" laptop a top of the line laptop. There are really only 2 types of top of the line laptops. One is an Apple MacBook Pro and its understandable why Microsoft wouldn't give that out. The other is the Thinkpad. No other PC laptop comes close to the thinkpad. Though its too bad they don't make a 15" 1600x1200 model anymore.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by justthinkit (954982)
      I have owned (still do) and loved a Thinkpad, but I have also found my HP 1440x900 3gHz laptop to be exceptional as well. And if I may step into a time machine for a second, the gray-black AC-only Toshiba 80386 laptops were perfect. I saw them everywhere and they never died -- I even crammed Windows 95 on a 5MB model, whose color screen alone was a $1,000 option.

      There have been some great laptops -- even the Compaq luggables were good -- but I agree that few will get fired for buying a Thinkpad.
    • Re:top of the line? (Score:5, Informative)

      by kestasjk (933987) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:47PM (#17377786) Homepage
      Since when is an "Acer Ferari" laptop a top of the line laptop
      Since they got 2GB of RAM, a built in camera, AMD dual core 64 bit processor, 160gb HDD, HD-DVD, etc, etc. You at least have to agree that the specs are top of the line.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by HMC CS Major (540987)
        I personally dislike the Acer brand - goes back to 1997 when my Acer desktop was the worst machine I ever purchased. I'm sure they've improved since then, but there are other "better" brands out there, and IBM's Thinkpad line has an excellent reputation.

        In any event, arguing silly semantics about the 'top of the line' doesn't change the moral of the story - Microsoft wants good press and is going out of its way to get it. That's not surprising, they just have a bigger PR budget than most.

        Is it wrong? No.
        Is
        • by HMC CS Major (540987) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#17377986) Homepage
          PS: I blog about DUIs [fight-a-dui.com] all the time - if anyone wants to send me free beer [fight-a-dui.com], I'd really appreciate it.

        • by Randolpho (628485)
          Back in '93 Acer and Compaq were among the best desktops you could buy, and Packard Bell (who seem to have disappeared) was crap. Go figure!
        • by PPGMD (679725)
          Since you state your expirences are from 1997, you obviously haven't purchased an Acer recently. IMO Acer is very closely behind the Thinkpad and the Mac Book Pro (I own a Mac Book Pro also, and one of my clients uses all IBM/Leveno gear). Our company hasn't had any issues with our Acer TravelMate's, and I think that they are one of the best designed notebooks I have used since the Mac Book Pro (at the very least the best notebook keyboard).
      • Since they got 2GB of RAM, a built in camera, AMD dual core 64 bit processor,
        ...they might have the resources to get tolerable performance out of Vista. That's the biggest reason MS did this. It takes a 'top of the line' machine to get performance like I get out of my Celeron laptop with a half gig of RAM running a less-demanding OS.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by darthservo (942083)
      I felt the same way when I read "Acer" and "top-of-the-line" in the same sentence, but not used in contrast.

      Each Acer I've ever had experience with (mostly tablets, but some laptops) has reaffirmed that I will definitely not be purchasing one. They're awful. Of course "top-of-the-line" is probably just referring to Acer's top shelf product, which in my opinion doesn't have much going for it. While I personally haven't used the Ferrari line, I can't imagine they'd be much better - adding an exotic car mfg

      • by bilbravo (763359)
        My wife and I have an Acer 5002. Thing is wonderful. Had an issue with a loose connection on the screen, fixed and sent back in 5 business days. No issues with overheating, battery life is better than reviews I've read, and the thing is very fast.
        • by Xenna (37238)
          This is the reason I buy Dell laptops. No sending in or waiting 5 business days. If it breaks, there's a repairman on my doorstep tomorrow. The fee is reasonable. I need my laptop working.

          X.
    • by Ucklak (755284)
      Years ago (5-6), could even be current, the Toshiba laptops were the top of the line for media.

      I used to consult for an IMAX company and only the Toshiba laptops could handle the output resolution required for the DLP projectors.
      Not even the top of the line Powerbook could handle it.
    • by timeOday (582209)
      No other PC laptop comes close to the thinkpad. Though its too bad they don't make a 15" 1600x1200 model anymore.
      Huh? What's this 15" 1600x1200 T60P sitting in my lap then?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lseltzer (311306)
      I've met several relatively senior Microsoft personnel who love their Acer Ferraris. I was recently shopping for a high-end notebook on which to run Vista with XP in a child VM and asked several people at Microsoft. Some recommended the Acer, but I'm a Thinkpad bigot and got a duded-up Z61p.

      I write about their products all the time and they're always trying to influence me, but nobody's ever offered me anything like a notebook.
  • despicable (Score:5, Funny)

    by wes33 (698200) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#17377306)
    This is typical MS behaviour - entirely immoral and calculating ... and where do I sign up?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Hey, at least they didn't pull an Alienware [hexus.net] by stating in writing that they only send systems to reviewers who give favorable reviews.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by lucifig (255388)
      Make all of the jokes you want:

      MS gives free laptops to bloggers...
      Apple gives lawsuits...

      I know which I'd prefer (even if it is an Acer)
  • Who cares? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MECC (8478) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#17377310)
    Is it ethical? Probably not.

    A new laptop to run Ubuntu on? Who cares?

  • by brennanw (5761) * on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:16PM (#17377322) Homepage Journal
    When Microsoft decides to bribe a blogger, they don't screw around. Damn...

    I would be protesting this blatant attempt to reward the faithful if my mouth weren't watering so heavily.

    (This may be a secondary ploy -- not only do they get to reward the faithful, but all their blogging enemies die off in saliva-related drownings...)
  • Politics, business, anything where money is involved has included bribes for about... well, since the inception of bribery... unless we are collecting a list of things MS is doing to be less than moral, or ethical, how is this news?
  • by mccalli (323026) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:20PM (#17377390) Homepage
    From the summary:
    According to at least six bloggers, Microsoft has been sending out free top-of-the-line laptops pre-loaded with Vista as a 'no strings attached gifts'.

    To me, that's a gift not a bribe. I can't remember the specifics, but I'm sure Apple did something similar a while ago. They're saying "thanks for the coverage", and that's that.

    I'm happy over here with my OS X machines with Linux installs on the server side, and I still can't see a reason to be going after Microsoft for this. They got coverage, and they said thanks.

    Cheers,
    Ian
    • by nagora (177841)
      To me, that's a gift not a bribe.

      Only partly. The "gift" is also a very obvious hint that more may be forthcoming if they keep up the "good work". THAT makes it a bribe.

      TWW

    • To me, that's a gift not a bribe.

      Lots of companies do the same thing with review sites. Send them a free (often cherry picked) whatever. If they give it a good reviews, send them a new one of the next product, otherwise don't. Only a few companies refuse to accept these, and they are the ones who really care about their reputation, like consumer reports. To me it simply calls into question the impartiality of the reviews.

      To me, that's a gift not a bribe.

      I remember Apple shipping free machines to deve

    • by Björn (4836)
      From www.m-w.com

      Bribe:

      1 : money or favor given or promised in order to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust

      2 : something that serves to induce or influence

      Where I live (Sweden) the recommended maximum amount for a gift, if you want to avoid the risk of being charged with bribery, is about 60 dollars.

    • by gurps_npc (621217)
      A one time only item, with no publicity might be a gift.

      But this is not that.

      This is part of a program, that is being advertised.

      That makes it a bribe.

    • I can't remember the specifics, but I'm sure Apple did something similar a while ago.
      I'm pretty sure you got that mixed up with the free laptops they gave to some independent open source developers.
    • by fm6 (162816)

      A gift, not a bribe? You should go into politics.

      It's worth noting that a lot of bloggers have no notion of journalistic ethics. Here's a particularly nasty story about bloggers who can't even be bothered to get their quotes straight [onthemedia.org].

    • by dr.badass (25287) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @03:22PM (#17379854) Homepage
      I can't remember the specifics, but I'm sure Apple did something similar a while ago.

      Not the same thing. Apple gave laptops to the top contributors to the WebKit open source project. [webkit.org], not just people that had said nice things about them.
  • by SEMW (967629) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:21PM (#17377418)
    What "silence over the source of the laptops"? The bloggers mentioned in TFA all mentioned that the laptops were from Microsoft & AMD...
    • by SEMW (967629)
      Apology & correction -- "Brandon LeBlanc" doesn't mention the source of his laptop; however, the others all do.
  • Is The Plague [earthlink.net] working for Microsoft now?
  • 1) Ask for Vista laptop from MS
    2) Write Wind0ze suxx0rs, Linux 1337 review
    3) Format HD, install Linux
    4) Profit!
  • Disclosure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by truthsearch (249536) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:23PM (#17377450) Homepage Journal
    I don't see this as too big a deal. What's far worse is bloggers who don't disclose the fact they got the gift in any related blog posts. Bloggers aren't expected to have any standards, but those that disclose this important information when blogging about Vista gain credibility.
    • by wass (72082)
      What is means is that here on slashdot, or any other blog, when someone praises Vista, or counters a criticism of Vista, you have no way of knowing whether the person is
      • genuinely writing about their experiences with Vista
      • a paid Microsoft shill (no tin foil hat necessary, they've been caught astroturfing for at least a decade now)
      • this new option, now, that the person is an 'independent' blogger swayed by the prospect of generous tech gifts for 'reporting' in Microsoft's favor.

      In other words, it's now

    • This is bribery, pure and simple. Every industry does it in some form or another. If MS had sent them a copy of Vista with no hardware, that's understandable. Everyone sends out free samples to reviewers in the hopes that they will review it. However, the "free laptop" is a bribe.

      You would say "oh yes as long as they disclose that they received a free laptop I'm okay with that." What if every reviewer got a laptop? And what would motivate a reviewer to disclose this information, when it would only hur
  • by otacon (445694) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:25PM (#17377478)
    sure beats the Pentium 133 16mb ram 1.0gb HDD laptop running debian with no X the FSF sent me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by zx-15 (926808)
      Obviously you never used debian. It needs at least 24 MB of ram to run.
  • by NetDanzr (619387) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:27PM (#17377504)
    I'm still waiting for my free samples for reviewing porn movies. Shame on you, porn industry: Microsoft has overtaken you in innovation for the first time.
    • by Kenshin (43036)
      Honestly, a few weeks after covering E3 for a game site in 2000, a couple of porn DVDs arrived in my mailbox for "review".

      It was... unexpected.
  • Caught red handed (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JayTech (935793) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:30PM (#17377550)
    Wow, looks like Brandon LeBlanc got caught red-handed [mstechtoday.com].
    Yup, I traded in my Dell XPS 1710 for a little something different.
    LOL
  • OS (Score:3, Funny)

    by silentounce (1004459) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:32PM (#17377576) Homepage
    But do they run Linux?
  • ...so this is nothing new. See Enterprise 128 [wikipedia.org]. We might not have ported our games onto it without this freebie, as there were many other competing platforms back then. Wikipedia says it's now "an extraordinarily collectible item in Europe", which seems very unlikely, but reply to this post if you want to offer huge sums of money.

    The Open source crowd can't really object, because they've been giving away free copies for years.
  • It's a small price to pay to get people to do your dirty work for you, and probably more effective, since these sites masquerade as impartial news sources.

    I'm sure Microsoft does this with bloggers that cover the XBox 360 / bash the PS3. (Engadget, Kotaku, Gizmodo, ....Slashdot?)
  • A company giving away freebies to impress the media and generate buzz? No ....
  • You have to know who those influencial bloggers really are! No need wasting precious laptops on weak, uninfluencial bloggers and bloggettes!

    See buzzlogic.com. Weep. Or gnash your teeth and download another copy of knoppix.
  • I think the Linux community should fight back by sending out free laptops to bloggers with Linux installed.

    I would consider participating, especially since I do not have any machines running Linux at this time and would see this as a useful learning experience.

    • by westlake (615356)
      I think the Linux community should fight back by sending out free laptops to bloggers with Linux installed.

      You don't know us very well, do you?

      • by Rob Carr (780861)
        Well, if I get a free laptop with Linux, then the answer is no, I didn't know you very well. Otherwise, I suspect I'm spot on with a tendency toward obscure humor.
  • The guys blogging about this thing say that the laptops are coming from AMD...? and yet it's MS that's trying to "bribe".

    A bribe requires quid pro quo. Everyone is agreeing that there is none here -- bloggers who have been writing about MS are getting a machine that they can blog about Vista from. New hardware sporting something current enough to run the newest OS from redmond.

    there is no bribe here. there is an ethical issue for the bloggers who receive them, but it's not a big one. Disclose that you
  • Why is this bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vtcodger (957785) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:01PM (#17377990)
    Lord knows, I'm no fan of Microsoft nowadays. I think most Vista customers are people who will end up wishing that they'd walked away from Microsoft software back in 2006-7-8 when it was relatively easy to do so. But there is absolutely nothing unethical about putting a product in the hands of folks who have an audience and might say something nice about it. It's not dishonest. It's not an abuse of monopoly. It's not, so far as I know, illegal. And it's not wrong.

    Since Vista might not run all that well on some of these folks old A21M Thinkpads or whatever, sending out CDs might be a bit risky. Especially given the general flakiness of laptop hardware. Getting a harvest of blogger comments about how Vista refused to install or installed, but ate six directories containing a new novel is really a dubious marketing investment. Since Microsoft is awash in profts from its unchecked monopoly practices, why not give away laptops along with the OS?

    • by wass (72082)
      ut there is absolutely nothing unethical about putting a product in the hands of folks who have an audience and might say something nice about it.

      Sure, just like there's nothing unethical about businesses flying politicians out to tropical resorts for a luxurious relaxing vacation, so they can 'clear their mind' before making a potentially rash decision on the upcoming legislation that happens to involve that same company.

  • CNET Reviews [cnet.com] don't agree that Ferrari laptops are top of the line. What's Microsoft up to? Anyone missing any underpants?
  • Like the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) except... its One Laptop per BlogWhore (OLPBW).
    Kinda the same.
  • by Nimey (114278)
    I wonder if Acer will stop using FAT32 as their default filesystem with Vista. As of at least a few months back, new WinXP machines (at least laptops) still came with FAT32 and not NTFS.

    Seriously, WTF?
  • These laptops were obviously sent by the Linux community !

    Here's the plan:

    1) Send free laptops pre-loaded with Vista

    2) Exploit well known security issues in Vista [google.com] and hack into the machines.

    3) Change the blogs just before publication to praise Linux and dis Vista

    4) Profit !

  • by Dolohov (114209) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:35PM (#17378506)
    The way I see it, this divides the computer-writing bloggers into four basic camps:
    1. Pro-Microsoft, got a laptop
    2. Pro-Microsoft, didn't get a laptop
    3. Anti-Microsoft, got a laptop
    4. Anti-Microsoft, didn't get a laptop

    The gift effectively marginalizes group 1 -- people will say, "Sure, you say that, but you've been bribed." And it'll partly marginalize group 2, as people will suspect them of being bribed and just not admitting it.

    Conversely, it empowers group 3. If they're getting 'bribes' and still criticizing Microsoft? Well, gosh, they must be of sterling moral fibre, or something.

    Group 4 would be split -- there will be those who increase their criticism out of either bitterness or a sense of moral outrage, just as there might be those who tone down their criticisms out of a vague hope of getting some future handout. Indeed, there will probably be more people writing about it, period.

    No, it doesn't make sense as a bribe. Looking at it as a "thank you" or at worst an inexpensive play for publicity (peanuts compared to a TV ad) makes far more sense.
    • I think it is the publicity angle. Can you imagine a blogger who would not mention getting a free laptop? MS hopes they take a look-see and that perhaps they'll make a few posts regarding their new-found tech toy. Microsoft probably believes its own hype and probably assumes that people will absolutely gush over these things. The more I read about the integrated DRM aspects of Vista, however, the less likely I am to ever use it (where I have a choice--I'm sure the office will have it in a few years).

      [
  • by jaypeg (711764) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:44PM (#17378630)
    A few weeks ago Microsoft called a meeting for bloggers at their Redmond Campus. Bill walks into the meeting room and sees that every blogger that showed up was using a Mac laptop. Well I guess he didn't like that, so now he decides to send out free laptops to fix things. Trouble is, it's probably going to take more than a free laptop to make them switch back.
  • ...local grocers have been reported to be handing out free samples of cheese. "Coincidentally" these "no-strings-attached" cheese samples have been handed out specifically to people milling about the cheese counter, who are more likely to buy cheese than the average grocery shopper. While not expressly illegal, the psychological effect of getting free cheese is well documented, making this brazen ploy on the part of grocers highly ethically questionable.
  • Microsoft is wonderful.

    (can I have my laptop now?)

You know, the difference between this company and the Titanic is that the Titanic had paying customers.

Working...