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Australian Financial Review on Microsoft Laptop Saga

Posted By Darren Rowse 6th of January 2007 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

Darren-Financial-Review-1The Australian Financial Review has a short piece on me and the computer that Microsoft sent me this week. The article also features a comment from Trevor Cook.

AFR’s website is a little bizarre so I’m not sure how long the article will be up and I can’t copy and paste an excerpt from the article so if you can’t access it I’ll include a screen capture of the first part below (click it to enlarge).

One quick correction on the article. While initially there were ‘no strings attached’ on what I did with the machine Microsoft subsequently asked me to either return it to them or give it away (I was already intending on giving it to a charity). They made this request once the laptop was on its way to me.

Just an update on my feelings on the whole Microsoft laptop story:

I don’t have a problem with what Microsoft have done in giving products away for review – but I do hope they’ve learnt a thing or two about how they do it in future. Like I’ve said previously – I think a better approach would have been for them to initially insist upon disclosure of laptop receipt in reviews (they’ve since asked bloggers to do this) and/or to make the machines loan machines.

I do wonder (and told the reporter of this article) why it was necessary to give laptops away with Vista to reviewers. It does make me wonder about how Vista runs on older and slower machines.

My own review will be a couple of weeks away. I’ve only just received it this Wednesday and next week we’re away for the week (remember Tony Hung will be guest blogging here from Monday) and I won’t be taking the laptop (or any computer) with me.

I also will still give the laptop to a charity at the end of my time reviewing it. I’ve chosen the charity (thanks to the many emails from bloggers saying that they’d like it) but still need to confirm with that charity that they need/want it.

Picture 5-1

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

  • Good choice to give the laptop to a charity. Makes me wish MS sent me , so that I could do the same. If they don’t need/want the laptop, auction off the laptop and give the money raised to charity would also be useful.

  • You’re right Darren, it does make you curious about how Vista will perform on anything less than a blazingly fast latest spec machine (which I’m assuming these laptops are?)

    Still, any publicity is good publicity right? ;)


  • I don’t understand the whole Laptop-give-away discussions that is going on at the moment. It is really a good thing to give those laptops to a charity after testing them. Nobody was really forced at all to write a review as far as I have followed the story.

    Btw: Do you have some files or Videos on your Ferrari Laptop from someone called Loki? (which may be part of the Vanishing Point Game)

  • Pingback: Australian problogger Financial Review on Microsoft Laptop Saga « Unlocking Keys Disguised as Downloadable Content?()

  • Hi still find it funny.

    but I do hope they’ve learnt a thing or two about how they do it in future“.

    I still think Edelman (and MS) consider this a major marketing hit. They have managed to create a buzz/fuzz and dominated the end of year blog news.
    In a world of Mac lovers.
    The scandal did not hurt them at all. More even they reminded everyone, people who might just have gotten some money from the holidays, that Vista was on its way. And it probably was the cheapest campaign ever.

  • I’m not a big MS fan in general (well not a fan of some of their products, windows included anyway). I did a short summary of all my research into Vista at

    As you point out, unless you’ve got a ton of RAM and a blazingly fast video card, you wont see the fancy new GUI features….it will still run, but it will ‘degrade’ the eye candy so that it runs at a decent speed.

    Basically, I think for the short-term, it will be a step backwards. They claim to have re-written a lot of code to take advantage of newer dual-core processors. As a former software engineer, I take that to mean adding thread capabilities to a lot of the core code….this type of software can be very tricky to write and it’s often difficult to predict all of the places where it can screw up….so short version – I think it will crash a lot or at least a lot of processes will run amok when they shouldn’t be.

    I’m curious as to your impressions of working with it.

    A bit more on topic, I’m curious also to get your views on how this sort of thing (free samples to bloggers) compares to your views on the whole pay-per-post model?

  • Best take on the subject I’ve seen:

    The only reason why they’d give away free pre-installed laptops instead of copies of the operating system is because the system requirements are so high, the install process was too painful, or specifically because they were trying to convert Mac users who would never install it themselves.

  • Definitely auction it off and give the charity the money. A charity is going to get a lot more value out of the money than out of a high-end laptop when decent laptops can be had for

  • Why give away laptops with Vista? isn’t it obvious?

    If I was sent just Vista, it would go on the list of “things to do”
    If I recieved a new toy (“laptop”), I’d play immediately.

    I don’t see the big deal or why there is such a big brouhaha. Yeah, probably should have asked for disclosure up front in any blog posts, but any respectible blogger shsould do that.

  • If I register as a charity will I qualify for the laptop?

    Seriously, I hope someone can put it to good use when you are done running it through the ringer. Giving it away is a good idea, but I am not sure I would be able to part with it if I were in your shoes.