Thursday, December 28, 2006

Microsoft Sparks Controversy By Giving Away Laptops

Microsoft's decision to give away free Ferrari Acer laptops has sparked a storm in the blogosphere. The laptops are loaded with Window's Vista and were given to be reviewed but could be kept by the blogger. Here is the text of the email to bloggers about the opportunity:

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.
There are several different laptops going out but the blogger had the option to return it to Microsoft, pass it on to someone else, or to keep it for their own use. After the controversy started to emerge Microsoft sent out another email revising their previous policy about keeping the laptop. Here's what they had to say:
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.
I think this recent revision should quell some of the initial controversy that surrounded the idea of bloggers being tempted to write a positive review of the OS in exchange for the free laptop. This policy probably should have been implemented from the start but live and learn is the policy of most companies and we can just hope this event serves as a lesson to Microsoft and other companies in the future.

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homemom3 said...

Did you get one of the emails? This sounds like a very nice review product to have or give away. Would really come in handy if people kept a few themselves and microsoft could later send them updated items to review.

Kris said...

I didn't get one of the emails however one figure I have read indicated it was more than 1,000 people who were sent the offer. If the given the chance I feel I would have taken the laptop and disclosed it. Whether I would have kept it long term would have been up in the air.