One of the first things I do whenever I purchase or setup a brand new PC out of the box is to remove all of the proprietary and preinstalled software and offers. Much of it brings little value and usually adds a layer of complexity and adds a drain on system resources than is not necessary. A good example of this is a chipset manufacturers wireless management software when the built in Windows network management will work just fine.
This business of pre-installing software on brand new systems is a big money maker for the OEM’s however, those preinstalled programs can cause problems on the OS and guess who gets the blame for driver crashes and poor implementation? You got it – Windows.
So with all of that in mind I am concerned as I read a story on The Next Web about an MP3 download app being pre-installed on all Acer Windows 8 machines.
I am not here to knock the app because I am not familiar with it but it is the concept and process of preinstalled anything on a brand new machine by OEM’s. Now granted, uninstallation on Windows 8 is easy enough to do and is much faster on Windows 8 compared to past Windows versions.
However, just the fact that you have to worry about that type of thing bugs me – especially on a brand new system.
I mean what is to stop an OEM from making a deal with a company who has written a piece of software that will give the user a pseudo-Start Menu once again in Windows 8? Talk about creating even more confusion for a new Windows 8 user.
Another area of pre-installed software confusion is with anti-virus/anti-malware programs. Typically they are trial versions and the signature updates last from anywhere between 6 and 12 months. After that point the user must purchase a license to get those signatures updated on a regular basis once again. I can not tell you how many systems I have worked on where those trial versions of anti-virus/anti-malware were out of date by months and therefore putting the users system at risk. I am glad that Microsoft added the functionality in Windows 8 that Windows Defender will prompt the user that their installed program is out of date and then after a series of notices will turn itself back on to protect the machine.
Unfortunately, I think this deal between Acer and 7digital is just the precursor to what we will see on OEM machines. It is part of the reason Microsoft decided to build its own hardware for the Surface RT and Surface Pro because some OEM’s had produced such shoddy machines to squeeze as much profit out of the process as possible.
That of course directly impacted the user experience on the other end and the circle just keeps spinning at that point.
What do you think? Should Microsoft re-work its agreements with OEM’s that distribute Windows 8 based machines and offer a licensing discount for those who do not add any preinstalled apps or software?