Apparently Microsoft tried to give Joel a free Vista laptop. He has written about why it would be wrong to accept.
Technology journalists receive free products to review every day; as long as no implied stings are attached I believe Microsoft is in the clear. Of course should the blogger start snuggling up with anyone for more freebies than he/she would soon loose credibility - the blogosphere excels at sniffing rats.
So, BMW where is my prototype utterly awesome, mold breaking, Porsche pummeling 420hp 2008 M3 to review? [Disclaimer: Ok, ok I do have a deposit on one of those 420hp beasts - a final fast car before kids arrive]