Microsoft Handing Out Ferrari Laptops to Bloggers

    December 27, 2006

Well my good friend Scott Beale got one and Long Zheng is reporting a number of other bloggers have been receiving them as well, but it seems that Microsoft is handing out brand spanking new fast Ferrari laptops loaded with Vista to influential bloggers.

Scoble calls it Payperpost.

Was Thomas Hawk offered one?


I’m sure lots of other bloggers were not either though.

Of course, I am on Edelman’s radar and have been included in lots of other Microsoft related things they have done in the past. Microsoft and Edelman are really good at including the bloggers.

I guess, of course, that little article about switching to a Mac a few months before Vista’s big launch didn’t help things. Ha.

Hey I will say this though. The Mac kicks serious ass and I bought the thing with my own money. And if I had to do it over again I would. It was $2,800 very well spent. It’s the best computer I’ve ever used in my life.

Someone from Intel’s PR firm did offer me a free high end laptop about 3 months ago as part of a group blog that they were putting together. The idea was that I’d use the laptop and then write about how I used it. I turned them down. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to me. I also turned down Microsoft’s offer to make me an official Microsoft MVP earlier this year. I’m not saying it’s wrong to take the free laptop. I almost took the one Intel offered but in the end I felt conflicted.

On the other hand I did take the free 750 gig Seagate drive that Robert Scoble gave to me from Seagate. Seagate sponsors his Photowalking show. I’m not sure why that feels differently to me. Maybe it’s because I was already using Seagate (and in fact had purchased three of the identical drives with my own money) and it didn’t feel like the free drive would compromise my opinion of it. It was a pretty public thing, well disclosed, (we even filmed it and included it at the end of the last episode of Photowalking).

It should be noted of course that bloggers don’t have to accept the free laptop to test it. They can test it and send it back. This takes the ethics question off the hand of Edelman I guess and puts it back into the bloggers.

I will try Vista in due time of course and write about my experience with it. Edelman’s been very helpful sending me betas for Vista along the way but I’ve found the betas I’ve received so far to be pretty much unuseable. Not stable enough to really test.

In some ways, Edelman handing out these laptops to bloggers is smart. Why? Because they can control the quality of the Vista experience more than if the bloggers upgraded to Vista on their own machines. By equipping them with high end super fast laptops with known configurations, they are going to get more predictable performance, probably the best possible performance possible from the software. I went to a dinner that Jim Allchin put on for bloggers and he was testing it out on a Ferrari machine. It was damn fast.

My own view is that one of the problems with PCs vs. Macs is that Macs are closed systems and PCs are open systems. The luxury of a closed system is that you can more extensively test the hardware and software to make sure it works well together. With a PC on the other hand, as a more open system it can be used with vastly more hardware and software configurations. The result is that if someone somewhere was sloppy when they configured their driver then you get a bad experience. Sure component manufacturers try to get it right all the time, but there are millions of different ways to configure a PC and realistically they can’t test every configuration.

Of course, I’ll bet that the Ferrari laptops sent out have been tested to death and my guess is that they work very well. The more interesting thing for me to experience will be when I upgrade one of my PCs at home to Vista once it’s out in January. I’d also be interested in seeing a post comparing how one of these free laptops compared to simply upgrading someone’s old home PC.



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Thomas Hawk is a San Francisco based photographer and technology writer.
He publishes the web site Thomas Hawk’s Digital Connection and is also
the Evangelist and CEO of the photo sharing site Zooomr.