Last year I was nominated by a former co-worker (and current Microsoft employee) for an Xbox MVP award. The MVP awards are Microsoft's way of recognizing leaders in a particular community (details here - http://mvp.support.microsoft.com/). Usually these are programming technology fields but they Microsoft has had the Xbox MVP program around for the last six years or so and that's what I was nominated for. It's important to note that this award is given for being an influencer in a community and not for pushing Microsoft products (the are some MVP's who do nothing but bitch about the company so it's not like you're getting bought).
Fast forward to January 1st where I got an e-mail letting me know that I was officially an MVP for 2009. The award does have a few perks (notably access to almost the entire Microsoft software library) as well as some additional resources to help me work things through in the community. This means that if you have questions about the service or Microsoft policy you can ask me and I can do some digging for you on your behalf if I don't know the answer. This doesn't mean that I can get your Xbox 360 re-routed as a priority claim but if you have a question about why Microsoft is doing something I can help get you an answer.
The reason I'm posting this is for transparency. I don't plan on changing how I cover Microsoft and it doesn't impact my bias for or against the company. If you do see me start to soften on MS then please let me know. If you have any other questions about the award or my status leave them in the comments.