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Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops 308

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."
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Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops

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  • No really. (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:17PM (#17377332)
    "No strings attached" to me is pretty clear. A bribe requires quid pro quo, that isn't the case.
  • Re:top of the line? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:27PM (#17377510)
    [quote]Though its too bad they don't make a 15" 1600x1200 model anymore.[/quote]

    My T60p is UXGA(1600x1200).

  • 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.
  • How is this bribing? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:51PM (#17377834)
    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?"
  • Re:despicable (Score:3, Informative)

    by denebian devil ( 944045 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @12:56PM (#17377928)
    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.
  • by Overly Critical Guy ( 663429 ) on Wednesday December 27, 2006 @01:06PM (#17378070)
    Game companies will not only fly reviewers out to their studio to play their games, but they will have them play it in a special game room with a giant plasma TV and 5.1 surround sound so that the reviewer can see the full experience they are providing (for example, many reviewers played Half-Life 2 on a high-end PC at Valve Software's building). Movie studios fly reviewers out to special film screenings. And on and on.
  • 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.

  • 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 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.

Science may someday discover what faith has always known.