It has become all the news on many tech websites like Microsoft-Watch and eWeek, Microsoft is giving away away free laptops loaded with dual core 2GHz processors, 2GB of memory, 160GB hard drives, big screens and Windows Vista 64bit edition to bloggers with “no strings attached”. The reaction of some websites pundits has been LOL humorous. First, there is the disappointment that they were not among the Microsoft anointed. Next there is the curiously bizarre examination of whether this is a ethical move by Microsoft. eWeeks Steven Vaughan-Nichols calls it bribery, Microsoft Watchs Joe Wilcox gives it an “influence ” label. I call it doubly revealing.
First Revelation: “Vista is Bloated” – Microsoft
The free giveaways of Vista-enabled laptops is nothing short of an admission that indeed Vista is bloated. Redmond is saying if you want your Windows apps to be truly secure you are going to have to pony up to get an adequately optimal versions of Vista. And that real Vista will cost you more (top end Vista $400 versus Home Vista at $230 costs more) and the hardware will mean that you really need 2GB of memory and 160GB hard drive and 2GHz dual core processors among other things. Ohhh and drivers for older printers and peripherals – wait until hell freezes over.
Second Revelation: It is indeed a Bribe
I have to agree with Steven Vaughan-Nichols – it is a bribe. If these Microsoft bedecked bloggers attempt to do any journalistic testing of say SQL Server 2005 or Visual Studio 2005 coding – they are prohibited by Microsoft from publishing any testing benchmarks. Similar restrictions apply to benchmarks and performance testing of Office 2007 and Vista itself as per the EULA licensing terms. In short, what you can say about testing and benchmarking Vista and associated Microsoft software is subject to Microsoft “review” if not outright ban as in the case of SQL Server 2005. Under these conditions, those laptops are a bribe as well as “influence”.
Just one more example of the new Steve Ballmer era of enterprise-level business responsibility from Redmond.