I've been following the "scandal" surrounding the Microsoft-Acer-AMD giveaway to various bloggers. There have been a lot of negative reaction to this giveaway with some bloggers actually receiving "death threats"! The gist of these negative reactions was that the blogger has been offered a bribe and taken the bribe. Well, things are not as black and white as it seems.
If the blogger is able to provide an unbiased review and disclose fully that the laptop was a "gift" sent by Microsoft to be used for review purposes, I don't see anything wrong with that. It becomes a problem if full disclosure was not stated as that would implied that the reviewer is biased because s/he has been paid a "fee". Even if the reviewer is biased and that is known from the outset, that would not be a problem at all and nobody would be interested in hearing from someone who is so biased (yeah, right!).
The thing that I can see that seems to create these issues was the fact that the readers of the bloggers expect the blogger to be unbiased and probably hold them to the same standards as journalists.
All in all, I wish Microsoft would provide me with a high-end laptop containing Vista and SQLServer 2005 for me review :D