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Microsoft Under Fire Over Laptop Giveaways to Bloggers

Posted By Darren Rowse 29th of December 2006 Pro Blogging News 0 Comments

While i spent the day in the sun at the cricket watching Australia totally decimate England a storm has been brewing in the blogosphere over Microsoft giving away Ferrari Acer laptops loaded with Vista to bloggers to review – and if they want, to keep.

Interestingly – I received an email from Microsoft a week or two back asking me if I’d be interested in participating.

This was the approach:

I’d love to send you a loaded Ferrari 1000 courtesy of Windows Vista and AMD. Are you interested?

This would be a review machine, so I’d love to hear your opinion on the machine and OS. Full disclosure, while I hope you will tell others about your experience with the pc, you don’t have to. Also, you are welcome to send the machine back to us after you are done playing with it, or you can give it away to your community, or you can keep it. Just let me know your opinion on Windows Vista and what you plan to do with it when the time comes.

I was a little surprised by the email but my immediate thought was:

  • as a Mac user I was immediately skeptical about anything with Microsoft in/on it. I was however curious about Vista as I’ve heard so much about it. As a Mac user I’d have no way to review it however without a PC.
  • the thought of a free laptop was a little tempting
  • the idea of giving it away appealed more than keeping it – I know of a few charity groups that could definitely use it and/or the idea of giving it as a prize to a reader was tempting
  • I was a little intrigued about this approach and wondered what would happen in the wider blogosphere when the story broke, bloggers getting laptops worth thousands of dollars to keep if they wanted just to review their operating system. My initial reaction was that this would not be greeted with unamimous support and that the combination of it being Microsoft doing the giveaways and that bloggers were able to not disclose if they wised would be controversial

After some consideration and chatting to a few other bloggers I decided that I’d accept the machine under the proviso that I do post a disclaimer about anything that I write about it or the operating system, that I’d write an honest review (I did tell the Microsoft rep that I’m not a techie type and not to expect anything too tech focused) and that I would give the laptop away after reviewing it (probably to a charity).

To this point I’m yet to receive the Ferrari 1000 but today I did get an email from Microsoft saying that they did not want me to keep the machine. Now my only two options are to send it back or to give it away. They wrote:

As you write your review I just wanted to emphasize that this is a review pc. I strongly recommend you disclose that we sent you this machine for review, and I hope you give your honest opinions. Just to make sure there is no misunderstanding of our intentions I’m going to ask that you either give the pc away or send it back when you no longer need it for product reviews. Since you are a Mac user, I’m assuming you don’t have a Windows Vista pc. Feel free to hold onto this loaner as long as you need a Windows computer for reviews.

Obviously the controversy of today has led them to revise their offer to bloggers to keep the machines. It’s probably a wise move and something that they should have put into place from the start.

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 and LinkedIn.
  1. I’ve been fortunate enough to see Vista in action!

    I must say, the finally decided to update their graphics to look a lot more Mac-ish. You would think all those years the programmers were doing the design and now have handed it over to the designers!

    The system itself (functionality) is quite robust and has a lot of new features since XP. The search functions and file directory browsing is a lot faster and intuitive.

    You’ll also notice a lot of cool transparency on windows happening!

    What most people don’t know is that Vista is hardware specific. In order to enjoy all the cool functionality and design of Vista, you need to have a heavily ramped up piece of machine! Hence, why they are shipping you a Ferrari PC that is loaded with the best of the best – after all, it is a Ferrari!

  2. […] Na da gibt es doch zum Jahreswechsel nochmal einen kleinen Skandal: Microsoft verteilt Ferrari-Acer Laptops mit installiertem Windoofs Vista an Blogger mit der Bitte, diese zu reviewen. Will sich Microsoft damit neue Freunde kaufen? Das vermeintliche Laptopgate  verursacht jedenfalls einigen Wind in der Blogsphäre. Natürlich ist auch diesmal wieder der Lieblingsfeind Nummer 1, die PR-Agentur Edelmann beteiligt. Und natürlich bringt das Don Alphonso auch diesmal wieder zur Weißglut, der einen möglichen Dialog zwischen Edelmann und einer MS-Birne nachstellt. Frank Ristau am 31. Dezember 2006 […]

  3. AFR : Blogger takes free laptop in his stride…

    Josh’s (or should I say Joshua’s) article is in the AFR today. Moira went out to buy the paper, to put…

  4. If the offer is given to me, I’d take the PC and give away my old one. While I do prefer Linux, I might decide to keep the OS as a matter of thanks for the free PC (specially if I do like Vista and if it gives a bit less headache than I expect it to).

    And this is a major reason why I expect bugs ===>”Martin Neumann Says:
    December 29th, 2006 at 9:38 pm
    Hey Hart – 2G of memory for Vista !!! That can’t be right – most are still on 512 and just moving to 1G. An OS requiring 2G of memory sounds like major OSbloatware to me. ;-)”

  5. […] There’s been alot of noise about bloggers selling out recently. The increasing popularity of ReviewMe and PayPerPost, along with Microsoft offering free Vista-powered laptops to prominent bloggers has got the “blogosphere” in an uproar about what the “blogosphere” is supposed to be. […]

  6. […] This isn’t the first I have heard of Microsoft promoting Vista, Darren at Problogger is one of the lucky few that was given the opportunity to try out the new operating system. And while the columnist was right when he refers to Microsoft giving the option of choosing what the blogger wanted to do with the laptop, a follow up e-mail that Problogger posted on his site from Microsoft says: […]

  7. There’s an easy solution to this that should make everyone happy.

    “I gave it to my friend. He’s a linux nerd. He gave it back. We’re square.”

    See? Easy.

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