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Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the hey-where's-mine dept.

Microsoft 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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I'd just like to tell Microsoft (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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:I'd just like to tell Microsoft (2, Insightful)

abscissa (136568) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377662)

Hey, if you can get a first post on Slashdot, you deserve a free laptop!

Yay, a free laptop that isn't really yours (4, Interesting)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

How is this bribing? (1, Informative)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:How is this bribing? (4, Insightful)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:How is this bribing? (3, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

Re:How is this bribing? (2, Interesting)

BewireNomali (618969) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378034)

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.

Re:How is this bribing? (0, Redundant)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377896)

Typically, the record label doesn't also send a 5.1 surround stereo, and the game companies don't send a giant plasma tv, to aid in reviewing. Just a copy of the media is sufficient.

Re:How is this bribing? (2, Funny)

I(rispee_I(reme (310391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377980)

"stereo" being here used to mean, "A sound system that uses two or more speakers, presenting sounds in a natural way from the directions in which they were picked up by two or more microphones." I just woke up :D.

Re:How is this bribing? (2, Informative)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

top of the line? (4, Insightful)

spotter (5662) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:top of the line? (2, Insightful)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377408)

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? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#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? (4, Informative)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377786)

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:top of the line? (2, Insightful)

HMC CS Major (540987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377946)

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 it uncommon? Giving out demos is certainly expected, but this sort of 'gift' is a bit unusual.
Should people be aware that it's happening? Probably, if you want an unbiased opinion.

Re:top of the line? (3, Funny)

HMC CS Major (540987) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377986)

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.

Re:top of the line? (1)

gwayne (306174) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377816)

You obviously never used one of the Acer Ferrari's. Aside from the bling factor, the one I had 2 years ago was wicked fast, and had a cooling fan powerful enough to suck a piece of paper into the intake manifold, which nearly caused the system to meltdown and burned up a hard drive over a weekend.

Re:top of the line? (2, Insightful)

darthservo (942083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377854)

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's logo to a laptop doesn't give it an edge.

Had I received such a 'present' from MS, I would have tried selling it off for a down payment on a nice ASUS laptop.

Re:top of the line? (1)

bilbravo (763359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377886)

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.

Re:top of the line? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377994)

Please change your post:

"No other PC laptop comes close to the crappyness of the IBM stinkpad."

Every stinkpad I've been forced to use (via work) has been a TOTAL piece of shit. Stick with Dell or Toshiba.

despicable (4, Funny)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377306)

This is typical MS behaviour - entirely immoral and calculating ... and where do I sign up?

Re:despicable (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377442)

Typical Slashdot response of bitterness and how they copied them by giving out free laptops.

I'm confused (1, Insightful)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377548)

How is this in the least bit immoral? Really, and don't give me any BS about a bribe, or that it is incentive to speak good about MS. If someone blogs about how great MS is in order to receive a laptop that's on their morals and ethics, not MS's. I'm seriously having a hard time seeing how this is immoral.

Re:I'm confused (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377966)

It's actually differs very little from the ice cream wholesaler giving free gloves to the clerk that orders ice cream, which is a commonplace pratice in business. I will leave it to the individual to decide if it's immoral or not, but make no mistake, it is a blatant attempt to manipulate the outcome of the blogger's musings about MS and Vista through the use of the powerful social-psychological principle known as Reciprocity [rickross.com] .

Re:despicable (2, Informative)

denebian devil (944045) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Who cares? (4, Funny)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377310)

Is it ethical? Probably not.

A new laptop to run Ubuntu on? Who cares?

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377574)

Yeah, but just think about how much and for how long you'd have to slurp Microsoft before they decide that you are worthy of receiving a free laptop from them. Ubuntu ain't worth that.

The Vanishing Point (1, Offtopic)

Krimszon (815968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377316)

There is also an Alternate Reality Game going on called The Vanishing Point. At least one blogger got a hint for this game along with the laptop. The game is set to conclude in Las Vegas during CES.

http://vanishingpointgame.com/ [vanishingpointgame.com]

Credit where credit is due. (3, Funny)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377322)

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...)

No really. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377332)

"No strings attached" to me is pretty clear. A bribe requires quid pro quo, that isn't the case.

Nah, it's still a bribe. (2, Insightful)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377476)

Microsoft chooses to send laptops to a select number of bloggers who are inclined to review them favorably anyway.

Maybe one or two out of that number don't write straight-down-the-line praises of microsoft products. Most, however, find their enthusiasm for Microsoft somewhat re-enforced by the arrival of a beautiful, beautiful machine. And the bloggers don't write cood Microsoft copy because they have to. They do it because they want to.

As far as I can tell there's nothing grossly unethical about it. It's not like Microsoft is paying anyone to write anything they don't already write. But for want of a better word, 'bribery' still works.

But my hat is off to Microsoft anyway. It's just... brilliant. Damn them. Brilliant.

Re:Nah, it's still a bribe. (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377506)

Er... if this comment seems out of context, it's because it's supposed to be attached to someone else's post. Don't know what happened there. Oh well.

Re:Nah, it's still a bribe. (1)

eln (21727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377544)

Try browsing at -1. All the cool kids are doing it. I find it eliminates a lot of confusion, and the signal-to-noise ratio isn't as bad as you might think.

FIXED! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377600)

Try browsing at -1. All the cool kids are doing it. I find it eliminates a lot of confusion, and the signal-to-goat [goat.cx] ratio isn't as bad as you might think.

Re:Nah, it's still a bribe. (1)

brennanw (5761) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377868)

Yep -- looks like that did it.

Re:Nah, it's still a bribe. (0)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377906)

Maybe one or two out of that number don't write straight-down-the-line praises of microsoft products. Most, however, find their enthusiasm for Microsoft somewhat re-enforced by the arrival of a beautiful, beautiful machine.

Okay, this is getting ridiculous. By your logic, no company can ever send review units to any reviewer in any industry. This is obviously to promote Vista and get tech people reviewing it. Everybody does this, from movie studios to record labels to software publishers.

Re:No really. (2, Interesting)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377664)

"No strings attached" to me is pretty clear

If it was "no strings attached", why would Microsoft have bothered in the first place? Seriously -- just felt a pressing desire to spend tens of thousands for the fun of it?

Microsoft knows that these bloggers have a long and deeply ingrained communal morality of "returning the favor" (it permeates all elements of our society), and no matter how much they might try to convince themselves that it won't affect their perception, it will intrinsically obligate them to be more inclined to see things from Microsoft's position, etc.

This is a long and well proven psychological impulse. Read the great book Power and Persuasion. Really fascinating stuff.

Having said all of that, if a Microsoft box arrived in the mail I certainly wouldn't refuse it.

Re:No really. (1)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377774)

It could also be that bloggers have readers and readers form early perceptions based on what they read. A blogger running Vista on hardware that is suited for Vista is less likely to blog about how slow Vista is and is instead likely to blog about the features that Vista offers. They're also less likely to bitch about the cost.

At this point, everyone knows it's slow on old/current hardware. We know it's expensive. Tell me more about the features, show me some hacks, let mek now if I really want to upgrade or not... give me some decent reporting.

Re:No really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377870)

Bloggers have a long and deeply ingrained communal morality? You've got to be shitting me. Most bloggers were born in 1993 and have no sense of right or wrong, let alone a communal flavor.

Re:No really. (1)

ergo98 (9391) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377904)

Bloggers have a long and deeply ingrained communal morality? You've got to be shitting me.

Not "bloggers", but rather people. Most people have communal rules beaten into them at every turn, one of which is that you must return all favors. That's why charity drives send you free "gifts" and then ask for a donation, and salespeople really ply the low-level acquisition representative from organizations with goodies and free dinners.

Re:No really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377954)

Having said all of that, if a Microsoft box arrived in the mail I certainly wouldn't refuse it.


If I was building reputation as a reliable and objective blogger, I would definitely return the package. I can afford to buy a $2K laptop, but I can't buy back reputation.

ACER (0, Redundant)

shanec (130923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377370)

To be clear, these weren't loans, they were gifts, and they were top-of-the-line Acer Ferrari laptops.


Top of the line Acer's? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Okay, MS is involved, but this is news? (1, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377372)

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?

Re:Okay, MS is involved, but this is news? (1)

Reason58 (775044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377606)

It is news here, because this is Slashdot. Their icon for Windows is a broken Windows icon, and their icon for Microsoft is of Bill Gates photoshopped to look like the Borg. Their agenda is so glaringly obvious you can't miss it.

slashdot bias? (1)

j3richo (674251) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377386)

what's with the obvious bias in this story? they aren't sending them to people to start blogging about Vista, they've sent them to bloggers who've been blogging about MS for a long time, like Long Zheng for example.

Re:slashdot bias? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377526)

> Long Zheng for example.

I think I know his brother, Short.

Hardly a bribe then (3, Insightful)

mccalli (323026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377390)

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

Re:Hardly a bribe then (1)

nagora (177841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377644)

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

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377396)

I look forward to reading all the blogs about reformatting and installing linux rather than agree to the onerous EULA for Microsofts digital prison.

Vista: The OS you can't even give away!

asking bloggers not to blog (1)

cies (318343) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377410)

clever move microsoft! (not)

asking bloggers not to blog about a secret deal...

Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377414)

Microsoft's marketing money has been in full scale damage control over the past few months too. As the console world has forgotten about the 360 in the same way gamers did with the Dreamcast with the arrival of the PS3 and Wii systems, Microsoft has been flooding reviewers, bloggers, websites(ahem), basically anything with an open palm to pimp the floundering 360.

The most egregious example is the paid for Gears of War review scores. The game is getting slammed hard by even the Xbox's most diehard of supporters for poor network play and errors and jaggy graphics that don't look anything like the bullshit marketing shots for the game.

It's just part of the culture up there in Redmond.

Re:Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (1)

fullphaser (939696) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377558)

The most egregious example is the paid for Gears of War review scores. The game is getting slammed hard by even the Xbox's most diehard of supporters for poor network play and errors and jaggy graphics that don't look anything like the bullshit marketing shots for the game.
Odd, we were running a copy of Gears of war for a good 6-7 hours straight yesterday switching between online and single player mode accordingly, and we saw nothing when it comes to laggy network play, or bad graphics slip ups, in fact the engine handled quite well.

After all was said and done we then fired up halo 2 (for great lolz) and found the network to be shoddy as hell, and we found graphics bugs opening up like soar thumbs. (not that halo 2 is any comparison in terms of games, I mean it sucks). But Gears of War gave us no trouble on our test box yesterday.

Back on topic I am sure MS was trying to bribe Vista, but I would be willing to bet the Laptops that it was sitting on could have been an actual gift, I know MS immoral as hell, but... I think they would support their heavy hitting bloggers with some nice "prizes"

Re:Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377580)

Damage control from WHAT? The Wii is a hit, no doubt, but MS has nothing to fear from the PS3 right now. Damage control from GoW? GoW is a GREAT game. I don't know where you see jaggy graphics but it looks great on my setup....absolutely as good as the promo shots. No issues with network play either. Resistance on PS3, now that's a different story. I want to know how much Sony paid reviewers for the 9/10 scores on that.

The 360 wasn't forgotten this year. It just wasn't in such limited supply to make the news. It got a ton of good press when the video marketplace was released in November.

Re:Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377874)

GoW is shit. It's a 5 hour game targeted at kids in the U.S. suffering ADD. The gameplay is so flat and stupid it's not even funny. If you like that game you're retarded.
It's sad to see that the best "next generation" game is actually a gamecube title.
Gaming has gone downhill BAD.

Re:Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17378040)

It's a 5 hour game targeted at kids in the U.S. suffering ADD.

As opposed to what? Fourty-hour games targeted to Japanese virgins with anime fetishes?

Re:Doing The Same With The Xbox 360 (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377948)

What is the world coming to? I read this thread to hate on Microsoft, and I end up laughing at a desperate Sony fanboy.

It's a Wii-Sixty world, baby, and you're late to the party.

"You can't buy that kind of publicity!" (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377416)

Says who?

"Silence over the source of the laptops"? (2, Interesting)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377418)

What "silence over the source of the laptops"? The bloggers mentioned in TFA all mentioned that the laptops were from Microsoft & AMD...

Re:"Silence over the source of the laptops"? (1)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377502)

Apology & correction -- "Brandon LeBlanc" doesn't mention the source of his laptop; however, the others all do.

"Enjoy the laptop.. Cool!" (1)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377426)

Is The Plague [earthlink.net] working for Microsoft now?

Isn't this just Marketting? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377446)

It's manipulative and perhaps a little dishonest, but companies have been doing this sort of thing for years.

Surely it's not suddenly newsworthy behavious just because MS have done it. If Google did something so underhand I'd see the problem, but this is what we expect from MS.

Yes! (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377448)

1) Ask for Vista laptop from MS
2) Write Wind0ze suxx0rs, Linux 1337 review
3) Format HD, install Linux
4) Profit!

Re:Yes! (1)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377514)

Heh, you could also profit by selling the Vista License, as I'm sure it came with one of the better licenses, not the Home Basic or whatever.

Disclosure (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377450)

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.

It's an eBay conspiracy... (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377456)

Microsoft is giving out the laptops with the expectation that bloggers will sell them on eBay to create an impression that Windows Vista has a better resale value than either a Sony PS3 or Nintendo Wii. I'm waiting for them to send me a laptop so I can sell it on eBay.

good for them (5, Funny)

otacon (445694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377478)

sure beats the Pentium 133 16mb ram 1.0gb HDD laptop running debian with no X the FSF sent me.

newbie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377962)

you obviously weren't around then

when did 133 laptops have 1.0 g hard drives. The debian stallman edition 133mhz laptops they sent out had and 80 gig with a 160 external scssi that rocked!

and it had windows... emacs did windows way before X!

n00b!

Re:good for them (2, Funny)

zx-15 (926808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378048)

Obviously you never used debian. It needs at least 24 MB of ram to run.

Is this getting public good or bad for M$? (1)

Reverse Gear (891207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377486)

On one hand of course this doesn't look good on M$, "bribing bloggers" like this. That's the obvious part.

The other part, I wonder if this doesn't just make a lot of bloggers start being even more pro-microsoft in the hope of a little something might fall off. Let's face it you really have to have a lot of visitors to make the adsense money add up to what you can sell such a laptop for on ebay.

Re:Is this getting public good or bad for M$? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17378050)

You're right. How else would Fista get a good review ? LOL

Early Adopters Wanted - So What (0)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377490)

Sounds like smart advertising to me. You want those early adopters [wikipedia.org] ? Get the bloggers buzzing. If you question the integrity of a particular blogger then stop reading them. If anything MS is brave to do this. They must really believe that their product will generate a buzz if these bloggers get their hands on them. I don't hear you complaining about all the bloggers who are crapping on Vista even though they are only reviewing screenshots or Beta releases.

Re:Early Adopters Wanted - So What (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377866)

Puhleez, these bloggers aren't early adopters because it's a given that each one of them would put Vista on their machines anyway, regardless of how well it works. By giving these souped up laptops, they're basically bribing bloggers to give Vista good reviews, or at least, giving them reason to pull their punches when writing something negative. Plus, your more likely to give a good review if you are working on newer, more powerful, hardware instead of your 3 yr old machine that can't even run the new Aero GUI.

Re:Early Adopters Wanted - So What (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377944)

What kind of dork would care about how well Aero runs on non-supported ancient hardware? Learn what part bloggers play in the product adoption lifecycle then thy to post a useful response.

I'm still waiting (4, Funny)

NetDanzr (619387) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:I'm still waiting (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377636)

I'm still waiting for my free samples for reviewing porn movies.

      As the producer of our new "Men on Men 5" project, we invite you to participate in this new all action gay porn movie, free of charge...

it all makes sense (1)

hobo sapiens (893427) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377538)

All of the "blogs" about how great Vista and the Zune are all of the sudden make a ton of sense...

Caught red handed (3, Interesting)

JayTech (935793) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (2, Funny)

silentounce (1004459) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377576)

But do they run Linux?

I got a free Enterprise computer in 1985 (1)

giafly (926567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377638)

...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.

shit.. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377670)

would be a bad th3 same operation

Not out of character... (1)

gamer4Life (803857) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377712)

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?)

No! (1)

Luscious868 (679143) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377832)

A company giving away freebies to impress the media and generate buzz? No ....

Maybe Microsoft licensed BuzzBlog (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377840)

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.

Ferrari? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377842)

Microsoft? Giving out Ferrari's? I'm sold! Now where are the keys?

Is that really unusual? (1)

jonadab (583620) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377850)

Giving out free stuff to people who write reviews on high-profile sites has been a common practice for hardware makers for some while, I think. This may be the first I've heard of a _software_ maker giving out _hardware_ as a freebie, but maybe they just wanted to be sure Vista runs flawlessly and didn't want to chance that with the recipients' extant hardware. And this is *not* the first I've heard of a manufacturer of one product sending a complementary product along with, e.g., motherboard manufacturers have been known to send RAM with their mainboard so that the reviewer will have the right kind of RAM so they can use the motherboard without spending money. The only difference here is that it's hardware and software, instead of hardware and hardware. And of course that MS is a monopoly, but if that has any bearing on this particular practice, I am not aware of it. (If they were giving out free laptops with purchase of Vista in order to break into the laptop market, _that_ would be a serious ethical and legal problem. But that's not what's going on here.)

If there were any strings attached, then there would be an ethical issue, of course, but otherwise I don't see a problem, or at least not a qualitatively larger problem than you have when AMD sends a free motherboard and CPU to a hardware review site, or SanDisk sends them a free USB key, or whatever.

Of course if the blogger then posts a review of Vista they should disclose that they got it as a freebie. Review sites typically do that, e.g. with a statement at the end of the review like "Review hardware provided by [Manufacturer's Name]". In this case it would be review hardware and software, but otherwise the same sort of statement would do fine, I should think.

Your dollars @ work ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377860)

corrupting the free market. Sure, MS is free to give, bloggers free to accept, and the public is free to keep right on paying for it.

Aren't we just so damned proud of good old fashioned American ingenuity?

okay . . . . (1)

DaMattster (977781) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377872)

so, when I get the laptop, the first thing I do is format the HDD and load FreeBSD, a real operating system, on it. Haha! Thanks for the hardware though.

Not MS news... news about blogger cred... (0)

Ingolfke (515826) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377876)

This is not really an MS news story. It's really about the influence and credibility of bloggers.

Why it's not about MS -- MS is sending these out for two reasons. One, they want to establish good will... that's not illegal or unethical. They aren't asking the recipients to hide where they got the gift from. They're not attaching any requirements to the gifts. It's a gift. It's ok. Two, MS knows that Vista needs high end hardware to run well and they know that many bloggers aren't going to invest in the hardware to run early reviews... so in order to get reviews about real Vista features and not how slow it is and how much it costs MS is giving the laptops away. It's a smart business decision.

Can bloggers measure up? - So... MS sends these laptops to bloggers because bloggers have readers and readers make decisions based on the sources they trust. MS has recognized that bloggers have sway in the market, they're for real... they mean something now. That's a plus for blogging.

The test for bloggers is whether or not they'll reveal a potential conflict of interests or reject the gift. Journalists and corporations have policies about these things... do bloggers have the integrity to handle this gift without the appearance of compromise. That's the test and that's what this is really about.

The Linux Community Should Fight Back (1)

Rob Carr (780861) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377898)

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.

Respectfully, the bias is in the posting (1)

ribond (149811) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377952)

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 received it and enjoy... or return it.

no strings attached? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17377956)

you mean other than the DRM, TC, and the 95 year government granted copyright monopoly.

Both Microsoft and the bloggers should be ashamed (1)

Ritchie70 (860516) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377958)

I certainly could not keep the laptop if Microsoft give it to me. I can accept typical convention junk (pens, key chains, and other novelty items) or perhaps a meal, but certainly not a laptop. My employer's policy (a Fortune-200 company):

Never solicit or accept money, loans, credits or prejudicial discounts, gifts, entertainment, favors or services from our present or potential suppliers that might influence or appear to influence your decisions.

  • Never solicit gifts in any form for yourself or [the company].
  • Items of nominal value offered by suppliers for public relations purposes are acceptable when the value of such items is not "excessive in value" and would not be perceived by the offer or, receiver or others as posing an unethical breach.
  • Gifts offered exceeding nominal value should be returned with an explanation or donated to [the company sponsored charity] in the name of the supplier. A sample letter to the supplier can be found below.
  • In the case of any gift, care should be taken to evaluate the intent and perception of acceptance to ensure that it is legal, that it will not influence your decisions, and that it will not be perceived by your peers and others as unethical.
  • Perishable or consumable goods should be shared with your team/department.
  • Never request or accept personal services or favors from a supplier if you are directly responsible for making decisions regarding the use of that existing or prospective supplier. Your officer in charge should approve any such services or favors.

Why is this bad? (3, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 7 years ago | (#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?

MS in Florida (1)

bndnchrs (1044108) | more than 7 years ago | (#17377996)

Buying public sentiment? Don't tell me Karl Rove is controlling Bill Gates, too.

Wombats (1)

fittekuk (1033554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378022)

Frankly, I'm surprised they didn't send them free wombats.

Law Of Reciprocity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17378036)

The best thing about the law of reciprocity is that it still applies even if you may already despise the source of the gift.

Top of the Line (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378038)

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 except... (1)

hey (83763) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378062)

Like the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) except... its One Laptop per BlogWhore (OLPBW).
Kinda the same.

Merit (1)

Voline (207517) | more than 7 years ago | (#17378068)

So then, I expect Microsoft will be sending Peter Gutman [slashdot.org] a free laptop for all his good work covering Vista. [auckland.ac.nz]

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17378072)

As a non-blogger with one of these "Top of the Line" laptops (yes a Ferrari 5002) I can tell you it makes not a lick of difference whether you use today's top of the line (Ferrari 5002) or yesterday's (Ferrari 4005wlmi) I have both (one is a business laptop, the other is for games and other personal use) and I can tell you Vista Ultimate runs god-awful slow on both, and trashed the XP partition on both. This has been the case since Pre-Beta 1, and continues to be the case with RC2. Until such time as MS publishes an article telling me how I can either:

A) Dual boot my existing XP partition
-or-
B) Use applications and drivers built for XP under Vista (and no, that "application compatability wizard" doesn't do jack for installation files, .cab's, .inf's, etc...)

I don't see how all this hemming and hawing about them giving out laptops makes one corn-kernel of difference in this turd of an OS.

Your friendly neighborhood non-blogger man
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