The Risks in Receiving the Free Products

or: Don’t breathe. Hydrogen is explosive!

Microsoft and AMD have sent free Acer Ferrari 1000 and 5000 notebooks loaded with MS Vista™ to a group of high-profile bloggers.

From Scott Beale‘s post, a portion of the letter sent to each recipient. Take note of highlighted text:

"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 on your site, or you can keep it. My recommendation is that you give it away on your site."

Recipients include:

… and possibly more who have chosen NOT to disclose. Hell, I wouldn’t have!

As you can imagine, lots of people who wished they’d also received such a great gift have jumped on their band-wagons, soap-boxes and screamed to the world at the injustice of it all. I suspect a great many of them also screamed internally "What about me? It isn’t fair, I given so much, now I want my share!!". Comments are being written frantically without a lot of thought, but with a lot of interesting research.

Some people appear to believe that the internet is fair-game and has no vanishing point, giving up their own moral-standards to insult the standards of these people lucky enough to be gifted with such electronic products. The blog sites listed above are filled to the brim with people chanting moral high-grounds on what ‘they would have done’. But this is not about them, nor should it be about the individuals who have chosen to disclose this gift from Microsoft.

Here is my ‘give/take’ on the situation:

A bribe is something given BEFORE you perform the act. These people were fortunate enough to receive gifts for work ALREADY done. In the same way that a basketball-player receives cars, houses and other paraphernalia AFTER playing a good game. Or your child gets pocket money AFTER cleaning their room.

  • Ethically inappropriate to accept free gifts?
    If your parents gave you an Acer Ferrari 5000 Notepad for Xmas because you were respectable of them all year – would you give it back? I didn’t think so.
  • Free Promotion?
    Think about that the next time you wear your ADIDAS, NIKE, or COOPERS(beer) T-shirt that you paid for, yet you still wear it – giving free publicity to companies that have a higher turnover than small-countries!
  • Morally Questionable?
    They didn’t have to disclose it. They were given the choice. Not even the tax man need know where it came from. But your insurance agent might like to know.
  • Integrity? That’s a personal thing. A person only has to convince themselves if something goes against their beliefs. If you disagree with another persons activities or actions, that’s ultimately your issue. Work on it. Nobody likes a cry-baby.

In any case, Microsoft can afford to give away a few computers. They would have given one to their employees and children if they had not given them to these few people.

In closing:
Even bad publicity is good publicity. You can bet the Microsoft and Ferrari accounting houses, marketing teams and dealer-franchises are all laughing all the way to the bank on this. You can bet they are happy for all the FREE PUBLICITY both the recipients and resulting comments have given their brands within the last few days!


I neither work for Ferrari, Microsoft nor AMD – but I wish I’d owned shares prior to this debacle!


SWMBO wants a laptop as good as the one she purchased for me, but she prefers DELL. I wouldd take a ‘gift’ in a heart-beat if ‘product assessment’ was my side of the bargain. What, you would not? Stop lieing to yourself.

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