The Microsoft laptop non-scandal

ArsTechnica is making a hupla-hupla about Microsoft giving away laptops to reviewers. What’s new here? This is how it’s working since the ’80s, when the computer market exploded. I mean, we get (cheaper) freebies at OSNews too to review them, but this does not mean that we are “sold” to whoever gave us the review unit (we also disclose WHO gave it to us). In fact, if you read most of *my* reviews, they usually paint a bleak picture of the product as it lists all faults one by one (because, yes, I am very difficult to please).

It is funny that everyone goes against Microsoft, but no one goes against, let’s say, Nokia. Nokia is known to give away as a loan some of their high-end phones to ~20 bloggers for a period of about 3 months (without full disclosure by the bloggers being necessary as to how they got the gadget), and then they request these devices back! The blogger must write at least 2-3 articles per month about the product (in other words they must do MORE WORK than Microsoft is requesting from its bloggers), and not only that, but they have to give the gadget back!

FYI, I have no such dealings with either Nokia or MS, but even if I had, I don’t see the problem. Review units are ESSENTIAL to write reviews, and these review units are 99% of the time either coming from a big reseller or the manufacturing company itself. That’s how it works, and it needs no disclosure of any sort, because that’s the DEFAULT way of getting hardware or software to review. That’s how C|Net does it, that’s how WSJ does it, that’s how OSNews does it. If that’s not the way ArsTechnica does it, then they are the ones who are losing out. The only thing that the reviewer must do, is to be TRUTHFUL in his review and list the faults he/she finds. And I am personally making sure of that (and it’s in fact one of the reasons that I am hated for, especially for my software-based reviews). Don’t worry, the company who gave you the gadget/software very rarely gets angry with you for writing a potentially negative review. There are no strings attached (or NDAs, or agreements of any sort). In fact, I had more readers being angry at me for being too negative on a review, rather that the companies who gave me the review unit. Only in one instance all these years I had a spat with the manufacturing company over a negative review I wrote. So, what’s Ars’ problem again?

But sure, let’s re-iterate one more time as to how evil Microsoft is. Cause this is a popular thought. We don’t want to be unpopular, now do we?

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