I noted DED used several Google references alongside mentions of Samsung astro-turfing and paid blogging efforts, I suppose hoping to conflate the two in readers minds. To the credit of AI readers it looks like no one fell for it.
Having said that if DED's theory is correct then with no evidence that Google pays for favorable coverage either I'd imagine it's only a matter of time before the media turns on them too. In fact IMO there's a lot more negative commentary on both Google and Apple than there was even 5 years ago. Microsoft is pretty much the invisible man now, relatively speaking, a testimony to how little influence is attributed to them nowadays.
Google doesn't have to pay for it, directly. Every one of the mentioned media sites depend on Google for ads on their sites. They also control the search engine that sends people to the sites as well. They are just very careful about biting the hand that feeds them. Who has the second largest search engine? Microsoft. The media has been increasingly soft on them as well. As far as Samsung, their pay for coverage tactics have played out in lawsuits around the world. But they buy lots to ads from media sites and papers. They even went as far as to nearly take over Best Buy. I went there last week and could not go anywhere in the store and not see a Samsung product or ad. It was overwhelming.