Free laptops: publicity or bribery?

There’s a little hubbub right now in the blogging community about Microsoft’s recent publicity stunt. They sent Vista pre-loaded laptops to a bunch of high -profile bloggers (I was not included, judging by my naked doormat) to generate some publicty and momentum in the tech. world.

My friend Francis mentioned it yesterday; Robert Scoble (Microsoft) thinks it’s an awesome idea; and Joel Spolsky thinks it’s indistinguishable from bribery. (Interesting how the latter’s integrity wasn’t an issue when he received a Google App.)

I’m not particularly bothered about the ethical issues surrounding the gift, but Joel’s brief review of Vista, along with a link to a more in depth review, is probably about right:

  1. Do not, under any circumstances, consider upgrading an XP system to Vista… even if it’s fairly new and even if it’s Vista Supremo Premium Ultra-Capable
  2. When you get a new computer, if it comes with Vista pre-installed, that’s when you’ll upgrade
  3. Don’t buy a new computer now just to get Vista. If your current system meets your needs, stick with it until you really need a new system. Vista is not reason enough for a new PC
  4. Need more details? Read Paul Thurrott’s review.


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