Anyone who hates Microsoft has been lapping up the news that the company sent fancy-schmancy Acer Ferrari laptops preloaded with Windows Vista to about 90 bloggers.The story began surfacing last week. The controversy has generated thousands of comments across the blogosphere and has yet to show signs of dying out.
The commentary has run the gamut. Many, of course, have focused on Microsoft's motivation and/or lack of foresight in sending out the machines. And many of the recipients have ended up feeling forced to defend themselves. So much for good publicity.
Blog community response:
Since I wasn't sent one of the sweet laptops I can speculate as to what I would do with one...I'd give it to my Grandma. My Grandma has never used a computer...If Vista is really supposed to be so advanced yet simple that anyone can use it, why not send her a laptop and see how she does with it?...
Nothing against (Mike Arrington of Techcrunch and Crunchnotes), but Microsoft doesn't show much creativity by sending him a laptop loaded with Vista. I wonder how many of the laptops were sent to people who had already run beta versions of Vista or who write pro-Microsoft blogs? Come on, Microsoft, think outside the lines and send a laptop to someone who has never used your products before. Then sit back and listen.
"So, where's the ethics violation? Let me ask you, if someone handed you a $2,000 fancy, cool-looking computer emblazoned with the Ferrari logo, especially considering that's as close to a Ferrari as most of us would ever get, would you say anything bad about them? Even though these bloggers were not required to speak well of the product...not the laptop, the new OS...who's going to cut off their nose in spite of their face by being critical?"
"Microsoft's approach raises some problematic issues...How many bloggers have received a notebook but have not declared it on their blog? Quite a few I suggest, which highlights the fundamental problem with blogging, which is that bloggers are not trained journalists and not necessarily in tune with the ethical problems that gifts entail...
Finally, sending bribes to bloggers is not a good look for Microsoft, and this is exactly how this initiative will be perceived. Even as they try to defend themselves, Microsoft's PR Gurus, show that they do not understand the blogosphere."
--John Pospisil on Tech.Blorge.com