Now Microsoft Wants Its Laptop Back

I'm going to quickly cover this Microsoft-related story, but for a reason different than most times I cover Microsoft (which is because it's Linux-related). Basically, Microsoft sent a bunch of Ferrari laptops with Windows Vista installed to some bloggers they felt were influential. Let me begin by saying I don't think they did anything wrong. Let me also say, I'm not surprised I didn't get one ;) Here's a snippet to show the intent:
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 blog 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 hold onto it for as long as you’d like. Just let me know what you plan to do with it when the time comes. And if you run into any problems let me know. A few of the drivers aren't quite final, but are very close.
I'd have preferred that if it was blogged about that disclosure was mandatory, but the option to return, keep or give away the laptop with no obligation to blog about it makes the marketing program seem 100% acceptable and legitimate to me. So why the outcry? I don't think it would have been as bad for any company except Microsoft. They have burned through so much community good will and fostered so much resentment that even when they do a good thing, it comes back to bite them. This should be a wake up call for some and a good indicator as to how far in Karma debit Microsoft really is. To be sure, it's not a lost cause…but they have a lot of making up to do. This should be a lesson to other companies, though. Be mindful of how you act, it does make a difference.
Edit (12.28 3:52): Some very interesting conversation going on about this in the Blogosphere. Joel is insightful as ever and is making me rethink my original position. Some linkage: Bribing Bloggers, I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea, Dave Winer
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One Response to Now Microsoft Wants Its Laptop Back

  1. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft (BG) has set back computing since its appearance.
    I wonder if I could trust a Laptop from Microsoft to be able to replace Vista with Linux.

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