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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: When is a gift a bribe? Some bloggers who review software are asking that question concerning a recent incident involving Microsoft. Janet Babin reports from the Marketplace Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.
JANET BABIN: When reviewers check out a tech product, they often keep it for a month or so to try it out.
Then, they have to send it back, or pay for it. But a few weeks ago, Microsoft sent about 90 bloggers a $2,200 laptop. It was loaded with the company’s new operating system upgrade, Vista.
Om Malik at GigaOm.com says the laptop came with an odd letter from the company,suggesting what he should do with it:
OM MALIK: You can keep it, or you can auction it and give it to a charity, or give it to a friend. I mean that’s the kind of wording which makes you wonder, what are you trying to be too smart here.
Malik sent it all back. Microsoft says it wasn’t trying to influence the reviewers; it just wanted a little feedback.
I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.
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