Firstly the purpose of this report is not to draw any inference over how much impartiality a person who receives a gift from a company has. This is more to do with informing readering, so that they can have the full facts at their disposal when reading someones opinion on that particular companies products.
Computer magazines are quite clear that they recieve review copies, and I think people keep that in mind when reading their articles. The same should be true of bloggers and reporters on the net. Since the net now is one of the main ways we get our information and opinion, I believe its important that full disclosure on any gifts is clear.
Andre Da Costa first came to my attention in my first few weeks of Microsoft Watch posting. I noticed almost imediately that his posts lacked “personality” and to me looked like a copy & paste from a PR sheet. We had “Vista is loved” and “feature rich” et al, which to me didnt sound like a user with an honest held belief in the “greatness” of any product.
So he was challenged. Questions regarding his “Microsoft facts” were mostly met with more PR or ignored.
Moving on about 4 months, it was the user “Chips” who enlightened me that Andre had recieved a free laptop, believed to be similar to the one in the photo. He also provided a link to Andre’s own site where it was proudly displayed (along with a photograph of, I believe him) waving at the camera all smiles.
This is where the story, in my opinion gets a little sad. The average salary for someone who lives (as Andres claims) in Jamaica is around $3790 per year, which makes the approx $6000 laptop gift/review model etc a very BIG and GENEROUS gift. One could be forgiven for going down this line of thinking:
A lad in a country which has known economic problems, is sent a laptop which the worth two years of salary for an average person. One could be forgiven for thinking that the lad would obviously go off and promote the company that sent it, firstly out of gratitude and secondly in the hope more free gifts would be forthcoming. For a company this could be considered as money well spent. Like I say, I hope Im forgiven for thinking that.
So when the matter was put to Andre, he was reluctant to give a proper answer. It took another user (Ridley) to make the admittion for him, although how Ridley was in a position to speak for Andre and why Ridley took it upon himself to do so (well I will let you make your own mind up there, however there were allegations of the word “sock puppet”
So now it appears in 2007 Andre Da Costa did infact receive a gift/review laptop from Microsoft. Boycott Novell has also written an article on this and that can be accessed here.
If you would like to see previous posts from this site in regards to the case, please click the links below.
On a final note, this is to you Andre. Whilst you have claimed Im a stalker which I take great exception to and at the same time thrown other personal insults at me, I would just like to let you know I forgive you. I believe I now understand why you post as you do in regards to Windows and Microsoft.
Maybe as a gesture which would do well in my opinion, for both yourself and Microsoft is to put the laptop up on auction on Ebay and donate the money to the upcoming Comic Relief fund raiser. I think this would go a long way to show, as you suggest, you are impartial and not in the least bias.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 05/02/2009
The one thing the Openbytes is happy to do is give people a right of reply. Now since Andre has not emailed with a full account (which is a shame as I would have printed it) It seems that the user Ridley has an allegation about a comment Andre Da Costa made.
Now whilst I was/am of the opinion that it was infact Ridley who was trying to claim Linux needed a compiler just to run a music CD (since he posted that and made no attempt to challenge it or claim it was Andre Da Costa at the time) I will take him on his word and post the comment that Ridley alleges Andre Da Costa says (and you can see the entire thread in its context in the link below it):
“Linux, you are just suffering, trying to find a compiler to play a music CD. Can’t watch something as basic as a DVD movie. Windows is about letting the user do positive things, thats why over a billion users are taking advantage of it, thats why Windows has dominated the Netbook market with 80% marketshare. Linux just does not get it, we are not close minded to the OS, but Linux is not Windows and does not share the positive qualities that Windows delivers through value rich solutions and services.”
Maybe that is another thing users can keep in mind when reading articles and “good reviews” by Andre Da Costa.
As always Andre has a right of reply, and should I receive one, I will print it here. Andre has been absent from Microsoft Watch, but when he returns I will put the allegation to him and print his reply here.