Bribing Bloggers

Opinion: So, that's why people are saying nice things about Vista.

Want to know why Microsoft has so many people saying good things about it, despite endless security problems, high prices, product lock-in and a big brother attitude toward using their products? Microsoft bribes people.

Microsoft blogger Long Zheng tells us that he, and many other bloggers, from the "A list to Z list" received an early Christmas present: Acers Ferrari laptops.

Zhengs Ferrari 5000 comes with an AMD Turion 64 x2 dual-core 2GHz CPU, 2GB of DDR2-667 RAM, AMD-ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 on a 15.4-inch widescreen. It also has a 160GB SATA drive, HD-DVD reader and burner as well as a 1.3mp camera. It was, of course, preloaded with Vista. Not bad, eh, for $2,299, or, if youre a blogger that Microsoft wants to influence, free!

As Zheng says, its not like the Free Software Foundation is handing out goodies like this. Nor, might I add, is Red Hat, Novell, Ubuntu or any of the rest of the Linux companies. All they have to offer is a great operating system.

It wasnt just Zheng. While not every blogger has spoken up, at least six others have fessed up to getting their "presents." Of course, the bloggers could send the laptop back ... and pigs could fly.

Its a bribe. Period. You say nice things about us, you get nice things from us. Heck, just say neutral things about us–well give you a killer new laptop and we know that youll be inclined to say better things about us.

There is an illusion out there that bloggers are somehow better, more honest, closer to whats real than traditional journalists. Oh, please.

In my business, if you accept "gifts" like this, youd shortly be looking for another job, far, far away from journalism.

Were not saints, and Im sure some of us break the rules. But, at least we have rules!

For the record, I own no stock in any Linux or any other technology company. No one pays my way on press trips except myself or my publisher, and the only tech toy goodies that Ive got, Ive paid for myself.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about Vista.

You may think that Im dead wrong about some things, but at least Im honestly wrong. If I like a business deal or a product, its because I like it, not because someones given me a bribe.

When you read any blog saying how wonderful Vista is, or how to make Vista do something really special, just keep in mind that the person might be writing it on a brand-spanking-new Acer Ferrari supplied by their new best friend, Microsoft.

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