It’s no great secret that Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Internet Explorer, which was used to crush Netscape and opened up Microsoft to anti-trust lawsuits, has seen declining use after Mozilla’s Firefox and later Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Chrome stepped onto the scene.

Microsoft

Bribery, er…”winning hearts and minds”

In order to perhaps stem that tide, the company has been looking to strengthen its place among tech journalists. At an event last month that saw the company unveil its new Surface Pro tablet to selected journalists, the company gave each participating member of the media a free device “in order to try it out and discover how great it actually is.”

Apparently, that wasn’t enough to “win the hearts and minds” and has left Microsoft a touch embarrassed by a company reaching out to bloggers on its behalf offering money in exchange for writing about Internet Explorer.

That company definitely reached out to the wrong guy when it approached TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. His blog Uncrunched.com published the message for all to see today while ripping into the approach.

The approach and Microsoft response

“I work as a social strategist on behalf of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and I wanted to invite you to collaborate on a sponsored post opportunity for Internet Explorer. We love your aesthetic and blogging system, and think you’d be the perfect partner to spread the word on the new Internet Explorer browsing experience!” the message reads.

“In this program, we are looking to spread the word about the new Internet Explorer web experience in a cool, visual way, which is where you come in. Internet Explorer has teamed up with many partners in gaming, entertainment, and more, and we’d love to see you talk your opinions on these collaborations.”

“If you accept our invitation to work on this program, we would like for you to write a blog post by July 10th, in addition to sharing links to the new Internet Explorer across your social channels. Compensation for this post is available, and there will also be ample opportunities for fun prizes and rewards throughout the duration of the program,” the message continues.

Following Arrington’s posted outrage, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) moved to distance itself from the program releasing a statement that said, “This action by a vendor is not representative of the way Microsoft works with bloggers or other members of the media. The program has been suspended.”

Whoops.