Is Microsoft censoring Zune bloggers?
Microsoft (MSFT), awkward and heavy-handed? Say it isn't so! Rocketboom's Andrew Baron claims that Microsoft tried to get him to agree not to disparage the company or its Zune MP3 player as part of an advertising deal on the popular videoblog. "I have been losing sleep over it and decided this is just not going to be right for Rocketboom," writes Baron on his personal blog, and goes on to confess his undying love for Apple (AAPL) and his feeling that Microsoft had "taken advantage of" him. Browser is trying to get a response from Microsoft; we'll update when we hear back.

Tech blogger James Robertson says that Baron is "'burning [his] bridges' ... dynamiting them, actually." But Robert Scoble disagrees, saying he would have declined the Zune sponsorship deal, too. "You define yourself and your business by the customers you fire," he writes.

Why all the fuss? Microsoft wanted to place a Zune logo on the sites where it advertised, and the logo came with a restrictive agreement, which reads in part: "You may not display the Logo(s) on any site that disparages Microsoft or its products or services, infringes any Microsoft intellectual property or other rights, or violates any state, federal or international law." It's more likely that a hyperactive lawyer rather than a scheming media control freak wrote that contract, but one way or another, Microsoft seriously goofed by sending out agreements with that language to free-speech-minded bloggers.
Posted by Owen Thomas 11:54 AM 7 Comments comment | Add a Comment

I don't think Zune is going to be that big of a hit anyway. This only adds fuel to the fire, in my opinion.

Microsoft is moving towards the cliff, one step at a time. They have become so obsessed with dominating every market that they are running themselves thin.
Posted By Robert Dewey from Rochester Hills, MI : 1:09 PM  

they did the right thing, such an agreement turns your site into the equivalent of an infomercial and you will be treated accordingly...
Posted By patrick, dallas,tx : 1:51 PM  

It's time people came down on Apple for a change. They're not saints, you know!! They use dirty, below-the-belt marketing tactics to win over the "rock-n-roll" crowd. And the sheer volume of OS upgrades they push is totally unethical. It's nothing but a fleece!
Posted By Penelope in Utah : 2:08 PM  

It's only sensible that Microsoft, or any other company, would not want to pay a site for advertising a product, meanwhile that site disparages the very same product in text alongside the ad. What sort of advertising strategy would it be, otherwise? is looking for a story where there isn't one.
Posted By RD, New York, NY : 2:37 PM  

First: I don't even own a player so I don't really care who's on 1st. But. . .that said. . .Dewey is right; Patrick is right; Penenlope must work for MicroSquish; and as for RD. . .Dude, haven't you heard there is no such thing as bad advertising!

Personally I felt the MicroSquish Effect now several years ago, when Hotmail.MSN came out and they cancelled my email account with the address of "".
Posted By Tom, San Diego : 3:58 PM  

Microsoft is a little questionable these days. I completely agree with Baron's choice. I have several sites and would never agree to this deal with Apple, Microsoft or any company. Microsoft is burning bridges, much like they did by abandoning PlaysForSure...

As for my current persuasive site, I guess I won't be getting a Zune logo either...
Posted By PalmerDeville, San Diego, California : 4:23 PM  

"They use dirty, below-the-belt marketing tactics to win over the "rock-n-roll" crowd."

Um, exactly how? By releasing a product that's easy to use and does pretty much exactly what it said it would? Pricing it so many people could afford it? WTH?

"And the sheer volume of OS upgrades they push is totally unethical."

Never mind the irony that MS AFTER 6 years is releasing essentially XP + 60% of OSX and call it Vista ... while Apple has essentially released OPTIONAL upgrades (10.2 from 10.0 was the only real necessary upgrade) and while you might not comprehend this coming from a Windows background - each upgrade actually made the same machine RUN FASTER and less troublesome. In that same six years, ZERO viruses, ZERO trojans and ZERO malware - if that's a fleece, what do you call MS and all those people who bought an OS upgrade as part of their yearly maintanance package?

The 1990's were to MS as the 1950's were to GM. MS is done and after boosting Steve ballmer's stock through the buyback in the next few years and when the Vista upgrade revenue is not there, MS will soon be passed in revenue by Apple and while always a player in the OS market for wedding kiosks, telemarketing computers and auto diagnoistics machine - is pretty much done as any technology company.
Posted By jbelkin, danville,m ca : 3:33 AM  

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