Bloggers who acknowledged receiving the computers as part of the joint Microsoft and AMD Inc. marketing program include , , , and others.
In total, Microsoft and AMD gave away 90 PCs, all loaded with the highest-end version of Windows Vista, the 64-bit Ultimate edition. Most received Acer Ferrari laptops that list for between US$2,000 and $2,400 at retail stores. Others received media center desktops made by Velocity Micro Inc.
In letters accompanying the computers, which arrived last week, bloggers were given the option of returning the hardware to Microsoft, keeping it or disposing of it in some other way. "Microsoft has been very open and transparent," said a Microsoft spokeswoman. "There is no expectation of any editorial payback."
Jason Calacanis, founder of blog network Weblogs Inc. and an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Sequoia Capital venture capital firm, called the that respectable bloggers should refuse.
"Any free product or service is a bribe, with very few exceptions," he wrote in an online posting. "It's wrong, and bloggers are simply new to the space and they don't know what to make of this very, very obvious situation. The bloggers who go down the road of free products will learn, over time, that their credibility takes a hit.... At the end of the day your reputation is all you have, and life is too short to blow it on some free stuff."