On the first day, Microsoft giveth . . .
“No good deed goes unpunished” is how my latest e-mail from Aaron Coldiron started. It seems that the reaction in the blogosphere to some bloggers being treated to a new Ferrari laptop pre-loaded with Windows Vista Ultimate and Office 2007 has caused Microsoft to rethink what they want the future of the laptops to be. Marshall got the same e-mail that I did from Aaron.
To be honest I kinda feel for the marketing folks at Microsoft. They have this product that they have worked on for over four years, and then sit down and decide out they want to market it. Of course they have all the usual channels like TV advertisements, technical events and launch parties but since Windows XP and Windows Vista something magical has occured – the citizen media was born where individuals like you and I get to publish our own opinions. They sat down and thought lets get some fully baked kit out for them to review – in fact, lets work with one of our hardware partners (AMD) to see if we can give away the machines.
So – they set their plan in motion and they go out and find bloggers to seed the kit with, some people are likely to give positive reviews, whilst others not so positive, they are bloggers, their individual reactions are difficult to predict as is (as we have seen) the reaction of their readers.
Bloggers being bloggers blog about this new kit arriving on their door step, in fact most even disclose where it is from (even though they don’t have to – they aren’t journalists, disclosure is a good idea, even for bloggers). As far as I can tell, after that some folks started pointing figures at the bloggers suggesting that they had been compromised. The news explodes all over the blogosphere and suddenly the marketing folks at Microsoft are thinking “what just happened”. As far as I can tell, a few things seem to be going on:
- People are ascribing journalist ethics to bloggers (Dan Warne).
- People are thinking that getting a laptop is going to move the dial.
To be honest, I am beyond caring. I’m going to do the review at two levels, from a user level which I am hoping that my wife will help me with and also from a software developer level. After that (probably end of January/beginning of February) I will take the laptop away from my wife and give it away on my blog somehow – Microsoft has requested those that received a laptop to do this to help avoid any more unpleasantness.
To be honest its not what I wanted to to, I was excited to be able to give my wife a new laptop that I would envy (which I would also happen to be able to test 64-bit builds of my software out on).
. . . on the second day the blogosphere taketh away.
Anyway, I think CrunchGear said it best when:
The real problem here is that there are hundreds — even thousands — of BLOLGGGERS who feel they they, too, should receive free laptops. Back when it was just PC World and PC Mag fighting over red hot back-up software at PC Expo, the PR world was a simpler place. Now, when Marshall gets a laptop, JoesHardwareGearSiteAndAmazonSplogBlog.org wants one as well and will get all pissy and ethical when they don’t get the access they so richly deserve.
And with that, this is my last post on the topic (the digg bubble seems to be curving over now anyway). In the coming weeks I’ll be posting the reviews from the software end.