January 1, 2007 9:54 AM PST

Costly gift from Microsoft becomes invite to blog

Microsoft's attempt to reach out to bloggers by giving them pricey laptops loaded with Vista generates controversy.
The New York Times

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62 comments

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It's a bribe
If it is for evaluation, they would expect it to be returned. If it is for
Vista, they could have just sent the copy of the OS without a top of
the line laptop with it. They did this with XP. I understand giving
away evalutation copys of Vista, they are trying to show thier
product. It's the third party hardware and lack of a return policy
that makes it not right.
Posted by escaport (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dear Bill
Dear Bill,

I didn't receive my laptop - must have been some oversight.

Please come to rightonblog.com soon after you send it to me, to receive a hopefully favorable review of your new Vista.
Posted by gladman911 (18 comments )
Link Flag
So how are they supposed to eval Vista?
How many people do you know that have a spare machine around that is capable of providing a top notch Vista experience?

MS is just making sure that the eval environment meets a high standard. I don't think I would have selected the Ferrari notebook, but I sure as hell would have sent out machines that could run full Aero with no glitches. I might have even sent out the Laptops without the OS loaded, so the reviewers could provide feedback on the install process too.
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Link Flag
you need a gameing powerhouse to run Vista
MS sending out hardware along with there software insures that the recipients have the "experience" that MS expected them to have with Vista.

And, it's Vista, few people have a machine at home currently that can push the damn thing. It's an OS that takes more computing power than the applications it runs with the exception of games.
Posted by jabbotts (492 comments )
Link Flag
It's an insult
Yes, it's very wrong from Microsoft to force us to keep these top-of-the-line laptops forever for ourselves and to not let us return them them.
Evil Microsoft, as always.
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
unsafe at any cost
Vista will see a new wave of security problems - www.techdictionary.com/security/
Posted by geomguy (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Unsafe... So..?
[b]Vista will see a new wave of security problems {snip}[/b]

Yeah.. Yeah.. So are the new 2007 and 2008 cars. But you just [u]KNOW[/u] that some parents out there somewhere will be giving 'em to their deserving teens who will go out and will have accidents. Any less dangerous? Nope.

So what's your point? Life isn't ever going to be 100% safe. There's always a risk somewhere.
Posted by Wolfie2k5 (188 comments )
Link Flag
Now we know where to draw the line between journalist and blogger
All throughout 2006 we've been inundated with stories of bloggers claiming to be another form of journalist.

Well, it seems to me we've just seen the where the line could be drawn.

No ethical journalist would EVER accept a free laptop from Microsoft. Simple as that.

To try and claim it is an evaluation laptop from Acer is a cop out since the return address on the package is not Acer's address, but Microsoft's address,

I say it's high time bloggers became regulated. If you're a blogger, and you want to claim you are a journalist, you should be held up to the same standards as journalists.

An association should be created for bloggers. Anyone who joins the association should have the same protections as journalists so long as they agree to a set of ethical standards.

Anyone who is not a member of this association would not be considered a journalist, and not afforded the protections of a journalist.

The way it stands now, any criminal who writes in a blog regarding crimes he knows about can claim to be a journalist, and that he should be afforded the same protection as any menber of the press.

We all know this is BS. Just because you write about something in a public forum doesn't make you a journalist. Along the same lines of thought, just because I design and build something, does not make me an engineer.

A bribe by any other name smells just as bad.
Posted by Mergatroid Mania (8395 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Blogs
are like that hole on you body everyone has. I despise all blogs...just an instant world wid spotlight to say whatever you want with no fact checking at all.

One of the many negative things about the Internet. Anytime some tells me "You should read so-n-so's blog".....I stop them right there with a NO THANKS.
Posted by Lindy01 (443 comments )
Link Flag
clueless
apparently this poster doesn't get out much. every week I read product that journalists receive and are evaluating. funny thing though is that sometimes they will talk about a product they received the year before and are still using at their home. I guess even though they are regular contributors to major publications that aren't real "journalist" who we all know are as pure as the driven show.
Posted by deeperthinker (2 comments )
Link Flag
This is not a big deal
This is not a big deal. It is more about journalists trying to put down bloggers than anything else

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://morewally.com/cs/blogs/wallym/archive/2006/12/29/626.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://morewally.com/cs/blogs/wallym/archive/2006/12/29/626.aspx</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://morewally.com/cs/blogs/wallym/archive/2006/12/28/624.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://morewally.com/cs/blogs/wallym/archive/2006/12/28/624.aspx</a>
Posted by wallymcclure (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pure envy. Plain and simple.
The folks that call it bribery are whining and jealous because they weren't lucky enough to get a laptop from Microsoft. Moreover, they are anti-Microsoft and attack anything Microsoft does in general. They are losers in every way!
Posted by WJeansonne (480 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nah...
...some of us just haven't sold our souls yet.
Posted by ogman (150 comments )
Link Flag
Bought + Paid-For. Plain and Simple.
That is the appearance that is given.

Hell, If I were a pro-MSFT blogger, I'd immediately send it back just so that my readers (if I had any) wouldn't immediately scream that my opinions were bought and paid-for.
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Clue
I LOVE Microsoft. Where is my notebook? As Janis Joplin might have said "Oh Lord wont you buy me an ACER PC"
Posted by gggg sssss (2285 comments )
Link Flag
laptops
Send me one PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by Miguel2303 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Then they're ALL bribes..
MS is no different than any other company that sends products out for evaluation and review. Some ask for the products to be returned, others don't.

In the case of Vista/Office 2007, you can't expect MS to just send the OS and Apps. Since that's the case, one also wouldn't expect them to send out a preloaded machine at the lower end of the spectrum.

I'm sure MS is open to any alternative suggestions you might have.
Posted by webdev511 (254 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft is alright
Leave Microsoft alone. What's the big deal? It's not like they have been monking around with stock options, like Apple. Microsoft is always flamed for no reason.
Posted by sinpolines (27 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Microsoft is all wrong
The discussion is not about Apple, but since you brought it up I will
respond. Microsoft also has "been monking around with stock
options" in the past, so get off your high horse. Microsoft gets
flamed for very good reasons all the time, like when they do
something truly stupid or wrong, or when they try to BS people.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
Product Reviews require samples
This is not unusual in any industry where product reviews are given. Often the product is given to the reviewer for evaluation. The OEM doesn't want the unit back though- what will they do with it? It's been out in the public, used, and would never be sent out again.

Microsoft receives machines from all the top OEM companies all the time for testing. Before you can get that "Made for XP /Vista" sticker, you have to submit your machines for testing. Those OEM's don't want the machines back, so... yeah. Is that favortism? No, it's just the standard way of doing things.

The only time you'll find that OEM's want their products back is if it's such a high end product or expensive item that it can be sent out to multiple reviewers (automobiles for example).

This is not a Microsoft issue. This is just the way industries operate. This is not unusual.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...samples that have a return policy, that is.
Car &#38; Driver has to return the shiny new sheet metal they get to review. Tom's Hardware has to return all those shiny new Intel and AMD boxes they review.

"Those OEM's don't want their products back..."

...so MSFT should keep them for internal use, not use them to buy blogger opinions.

And yes, this IS unusual. Even for them.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Costly Samples Ususally Returned
So Dan, when does your contract with Microsoft's Marketing and
PR department expire?

Traditionally costly samples such as these are expected to be
returned. This is what is "normal."

Enjoy Vista. I'll certainly enjoy testing Applications on it --
Applictaions that I develop in OS X.

Dante
Posted by dansterpower (2511 comments )
Link Flag
what?
Write PC Gamer or Maximum PC and ask them how often they get to keep samples.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
a Dell = a sample; a Ferrari = a bribe
a Dell = a sample

an Acer Ferrari = a bribe
Posted by iokinetics (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
oh waaaaa
wlecome to capitalism....grow up if you don't want the laptops I'll take them
Posted by ljs2007 (3 comments )
Link Flag
What?
To showcase the software the company is trying to promote, they chose the hardware that would best perform the way they wanted it to. Fact is, Dell currently does not have laptops that qualify for this. They will in the future, I'm sure, but right now, the Acer Ferrari met the qualifications.

Besides, they had to choose some maker of laptop and no matter who they choose, someone will accuse them of playing favorites.

I'm really surprised the obvious isn't so... well, obvious.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Problem? What problem?
If a blogger feels he/she is being bribed, it is just a matter of returning the sample/gift/whatever after the evaluation.
Posted by aemarques (162 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Come on, get life!
Geez!

I am no Microsoft lover, but these complaints of bribery are stupid. There are no strings attached, you can write what you want, how you want on a brand new system. You can keep, give away or give back...hardly forcing anything on anyone.

Microsoft is one of the few companies that has the resources to do this, good for them to put out a no strings promotion like this. To the complainers, get a life!

Alt
Posted by Altaman (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
First a Monopoly, now into Bribing
Microsoft learned how to bribe when they paid off American politicians to not break them up as a monopoly. This is where they learned their talents.
Posted by juchestyle (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Good thoughts
We should really follow that idea along and break up Apple too because they have a monopoly on the Apple OS. Oh, and IBM, HP, Dell, Toshiba, General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Siemens, Hitachi, Sony- all of those companies should be broken up too for exactly the same reason- they are successful.

We must punish the success of business! Break them up! Force them out of business! Close them down! Let's shut it all down now!

Or.... we could just have a reality check and realize that product reviews require products to review. You can't test an OS without a machine. Funny how that is.

But please do go ahead keep spouting gibberish. It is entertaining.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
You got it backwards
The real reason the DOJ filed the anti-trust lawsuit is because MS (and Silicon Valley in general) wasn't making campaign contributions and was in general not sending money to the players in Washington. Washington finally decided to take notice of this large chunk of the economy that was ignoring them and filed the anti-trust lawsuit against MS and that woke up the rest of Silicon Valley to the pitfalls of ignoring the politicos.

If you think they were taken to court over something they did to Netscape then you're not seeing the true picture.
Posted by extinctone (214 comments )
Link Flag
i wonder....
I wonder if you MS haters would be saying the same thing if it were apple giving away a MAC. for some reason i doubt it.
Posted by deeperthinker (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Answer
I would keep that laptop and write a glorious review in a second!

The problem with the whole free laptop fiasco has to do with how it
was handled, not what was done. I don't think it is all that unusual
for a company to send out samples, but normally the things don't
just show up out of the blue.

Have a nice day!
Posted by lesfilip (496 comments )
Link Flag
Apple does give away systems
For review purposes of OSX, Apple routinely sends out complete systems with cinema screens to review the software. This is not unusual or anything to be suspicious about.

It's standard industry procedure.

Now if people want to get upset because THEY personally didn't get chosen to review the products, then they have other issues beyond that of the product itself.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
Apple does give away systems
For review purposes of OSX, Apple routinely sends out complete systems with cinema screens to review the software. This is not unusual or anything to be suspicious about.

It's standard industry procedure.

Now if people want to get upset because THEY personally didn't get chosen to review the products, then they have other issues beyond that of the product itself.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
Link Flag
It could be worse
Special interests in Washington DC give away trips to politicians (costing well over what a laptop does), make massive contributions to their campaigns (costing well over what a laptop does), and attend their political dinners (spending more per plate than what a laptop costs). Businesses often provide room and board to their clients executives, trips, throw parties... all these cost more than what microsoft has spent on 80 laptops. Bribes? Hardly. I do know for a fact that computer companies send their hardware to other companies to test as demos. This is nothing new. It's how business does business.
Posted by Seaspray0 (9714 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Journalists are held to a higher standard
That's the difference. People contribute to campaign contributons and give doctors and clients gifts all the time. But journalists are held up to higher standards. And yes, before anyone asks, and I don't think this has been brought up yet, I do have a 4 year journalism degree from a state University, which included plenty of ethics classes. If someone is doing a review on a product, they notify the company and request one. Then they send the product back. Vegaman_Dan, the answer to your question is they will reimage it and sell it as refurbed. Bloggers are not expected to be as ethical as journalists, that's why they are not journalists. Bloggers can write whatever they want, then claim journalistic priviledge. As Mergetroid_Mania correctly stated, just because you build something does not make you an engineer.
Bloggers only want the priviledges of journalists and not the responsibilities. They don't want to reveal their sources, but they don't want to go to jail for not revealing them, like a journalist would. I don't work as a journalist, so of course I would spend 15 minutes registering a domain name and writing a glowing review for a free laptop. But no reputable journalist would. People who think bloggers are journalists don't have any idea what it takes to be a journalist.
Posted by sdencar (28 comments )
Link Flag
Why wasn't AMD mentioned?
AMD took part in this? Microsoft sent not only Ferraris but Velocity Micro Media centers (Some of us who recieved them had a choice).

This is only an issue because Microsoft is in the headline.

I am sure if the headline was AMD gave these computers out there wouldn't be a big deal.

I recieved the Velocity Micro Media Center PC.

Thank you Both Microsoft and AMD for the review unit.
Posted by HardwareGeeks (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Same reason Intel is not mentioned.
Do you see Intel specifically mentioned? A CPU is a CPU. To the end user, it really does not matter to them as long as they get the features and performance they are looking for.
Posted by aristotle_dude (165 comments )
Link Flag
goes to show you know nothing about reviews
Review units are given to companys. Do you think C|net pays for all the review units they get? This is why they go to shows like CES and E3s to make contacts and get free review units.

It's common practice to let reviewers keep the review units. 9 out of 10 reviews were given to the reviewer.

Sometimes companies especially small ones want it back but most let you keep them.
Posted by HardwareGeeks (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
...apparently neither do you.
No, it is not "common practice" to let reviewers keep high-end laptops as part of reviewing an OPERATING SYSTEM.

It is certainly not common practice to give anything of the sort to a professional journalist without extensive instructions on where and when to return the item.

Cripes - the Astroturfers are getting desperate these days...
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Bloggers ARE NOT journalists
Did anyone take the time to consider that bloggers are in NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM journalists? Who really places that high of a degree of expected credibility on a blogger's written statement? Microsoft is more than free to give out gifts to people who take the time to review their up and coming OS... those people weren't required to do the work they did, and MS felt they wanted to reward them in some way. People who are complaining: give it up. People who got the laptops: I'm jealous (c:
Posted by Radium163 (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
10 blogs = 1 NY times
Think about the following equation...

10 blogs = 1 NY times article

A blogger isn't a journalist. However, a group of bloggers are. Their piece"s" do carry weights equivalent to mainstream media. That's how Web 2.0 works.

P.S. In no way am I stating this phenomenon as a desirable trend for journalism.
Posted by iokinetics (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
On the contrary
Anyone who "just writes about something", by definition, IS a journalist.

As someone who's been in the business as a working journalist for 30 years now, first working in daily newspapers and now as a consultant serving the trade, I can affirm that the definition of "journalist" is broad and inclusive.

We don't license or certify journalists in this country, beyond what news sources "certify" as "real jounalists" with press passes or grants of access. And I can personally attest to the fact that the only "self-policing" that is consistently done in the trade exists between individual writers' ears. And you better believe that's the same standard for New York Times reporters and Fox News talking heads as it is for the stereotypical blogger relaying information from the basement bedroom in mom's house.

Bloggers are by any reasonable definition already journalists. You can be too, if you pick up a pen or tap into a keyboard to relate information. In spite of what those traditionally calling themselves "journalists" maintain.
Posted by jrhmobile (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
vista laptop blogs
I say, each of the blogers that rcvd the
laptops should do a complete eval on vista
and write a blog to CNet .
I for one would like to hear what they have
to say - and I dont think it will ALL be positive.
I dont know who these guys are - so how am I to
find out what they know if it doesnt come to
where I read ?!?!?!?!?!?? LOL
it sounds like a fairly good move on MS's part
to possibly get some outside opinions - the only
thing is - - - will they listen to them.
have they (ms) taken notice of OUR (cnet) chats
on IE7 ????
In the long run - I doubt it will make a s... bit
of difference.
ted
=:o)
Posted by tedtks (20 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ferrarys to bloggers
whout ,ferrarys to bloggers and people think it was a expensive price from microsoft

I do work cleaning floors,and in December I found out that my friend's girlfriend doughter would like to have a computer as a gift ,unfortunatlly
they couldn't afford to buy not even the chiper one
so I gave them a $ 700.00 pc

I do think people should stop thinking microsoft give away expensive puters ,when microsoft is one of the bigest money maker company
Posted by alfredito (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Waaaaaaahhhh!
Most of you complaining and griping wouldn't be doing so if Microsoft had chosen to "gift" you. Shut up already! Oh sure, Microsoft has an agenda. So does every other business on the planet. Those few organizations that are purely altruistic tend not to grow very much or they collapse.
No, I don't have a free notebook from Microsoft, even though I have a blog. I certainly wouldn't be complaining if Microsoft sent one my way! :-)
Let me be unmistakably clear. I love when Microsoft get's strong competition for several reasons. I like to have options, and honestly, there are many software products that at least match and often beat Microsoft, including their popular Windows OS. The other advantage to strong competition is that it forces Microsoft to compete in turn and produce even better products.
I'm convinced that Microsoft has used and uses some "dirty" (AKA shrewd) marketing tactics. I'm no less convinced that some big names in OSS (RedHat, Novell, etc) would/will do the same given a chance. It's the nature of big business.
Posted by Gandalf (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting
I had to comment: I agree with you. But I simply can't help but find incredibly interesting and fascinating how, nowadays, one seems to have to show at least some kind of disaprovement, criticism and hate towards Microsoft in one's comments for one's opinion to be even valid.
This should be studied by scientists.
It seriously seems like a rule: if in your comments you praise Microsoft for *anything*, you have to end by saying you actually hate them and Windows sucks. If in your comments you criticise Apple for *anything*, you have to start by saying Macs actually rule and Microsoft sucks, just to make a point (just not to be flooded with replies from Apple fanboys calling you stupid or idiot).
You don't go to jail if you don't criticise Microsoft in your comments, you know (at least not in my country)?
Posted by Ryo Hazuki (378 comments )
Link Flag
Vista Laptops
Before You buy a laptop find out your need which Windows Vista Edition are you going to use. Vista runs differently depending on the hardware. Lower-end machines will have a choice between Windows Vista Classic and Windows Vista Standard, which both give you many of the features in the new OS but without the 3D graphics. Higher-end machines will have those choices, plus Windows Vista Basic, which gives you more features, and Windows Vista Aero (the version with all the 3D bells and whistles). Mostly to get Aero, you must have a relatively new graphics card with a lot of built-in video memory.

If you have notebook bought two years back without graphics card i will advice you to stay with your XP, because in vista it's the transparent windows and flip 3D effect you'll be wanting and without the required hardwares you will not get.
the core 2duo processors will not perform better than pentium 4 processor with 256 mb dedicated graphics card

www.way2nine.com/vistalaptops
Posted by way2nine (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Stop Complaining!!!!
I am not sure if it is possible for people to ***** more in this country. Seriously, how many of you people reading this would ACTUALLY SAY NO to a new laptop. OK, let me guess. ZERO. Everyone wants something for free even if (like video game consoles) they just want to sell it.
Posted by scarpi (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I agree.
Microsoft - please mail a laptop to:

J. Lamb
P.O. Box 26067
Federal Way, WA 98093

I will be happy to sing your praises. Or blog about parenting. Or whatever.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Link Flag
 

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