Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Quiet Week Gives Me Time To Point Out A Couple Of Major Annoyances in The IT World!

This article appeared a little while ago.

Is it time to force PC makers to disclose how much they make from crapware?

Summary: When it preinstalled the Superfish adware on consumer PCs, Lenovo sold its customers out for a pittance, but it still hasn't had to disclose how much it received. Maybe it's time for a Truth in Labeling act to shine a light on this dark corner of the PC market.
By Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report | March 2, 2015 -- 12:00 GMT (23:00 AEDT)
When your business model quite literally depends on how much misery you can convince your customers to endure, your industry has a problem.
I am, of course, speaking about the market for consumer PCs running Microsoft Windows. Buyers have an abundance of choices, across a broad range of form factors and price ranges. Unfortunately, many of those choices are mediocre, offering an initially unpleasant experience that rarely improves over time.
The worst offenders in this unhealthy ecosystem are PC makers, who struggle to squeeze out a profit in the cutthroat consumer space. The most popular way to lower the price tag that consumers see? Accept payments or commissions to preinstall third-party software on new PCs.
It's a practice that's been going on for more than a decade, as PC prices have plunged from the thousands of dollars to mere hundreds. A little over three years ago, I documented the miserable experience that consumers have to endure when they buy a new PC. In one example, I found that buyers of a new Samsung PC had 53 separate third-party programs installed as part of their performance-killing out-of-the-box experience.
And things have not improved since then, as L'Affaire Superfish proved.
Lenovo's decision to insert a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad piece of dangerous crapware onto PCs purchased by an unknown number of its customers dominated the news last week. It was, unfortunately, just another day in the office for the executives who define the modern consumer PC experience.
Last week, via email, I sent three specific questions to a Lenovo spokesperson:
  1. How many consumer PCs did Lenovo ship into the channel with the Superfish adware and root certificate preinstalled?
  2. Were the affected PCs restricted to any specific geographical regions?
  3. How much money did Superfish and its related companies pay Lenovo as part of the agreement that resulted in this distribution, and what percentage of the total third-party software revenue did that represent for the models in question?
The Lenovo spokesperson politely but firmly declined to answer all three questions.
Fortunately, thanks to some reporting by Forbes staffer Thomas Fox-Brewster, we know the depressing answer to one of those questions:
Lots more here:
This article is particularly relevant to me, right now, as I am getting the sense my tired old Win 7 PC is getting to the end of its useful life and I will need to purchase a new one. I have just added a new criteria to my selection parameters, namely, how much rubbish will I have to get rid of before I have a clean system to start adding the software I want?
The second major annoyance is the likes Oracle (with Java) and Microsoft (with Skype) trying to have me not notice in the update flow that the defaults attempt to reset browser and search defaults.
The more people who are aware of these two sorts of bad behaviour - and feed back via social media etc. to the companies regarding their annoyance - the better. Surely the reputational damage and customer annoyance outweighs the pitiful amounts of revenue that is created?
My 2cents!

1 comment:

Ben said...

I agree with this entirely. What's the solution? Which manufacturer to turn to?

When it comes to business quality laptops, there are few suppliers left.

I upgraded my fleet of laptops last year with Toshibas. The first thing I did was completely format them all and reinstall only selected drivers.

I excluded all of the Toshiba "utilities".

But what a waste of time. Why should I have had to even do it in the first place?