Apple's new "Stuffed" commercial pokes fun at preinstalled applications—better known as craplets—loaded up on new Windows PCs. Apple isn't alone in the craplet disdain.
Mossberg identified two problems: "One is the plethora of teaser software and advertisements for products that must be cleared and uninstalled to make way for your own stuff. The second is the confusing welter of security programs you have to master and update, even on a virgin machine."
For Microsoft, the problem is one of experience. The company wants people to have a "Wow" experience with Windows Vista, which an overly preloaded PC could greatly diminish. But Microsoft also benefits from software developer support of its platform, and many partners rely on preloads for lucrative subscription revenue or upsell to fuller product versions.
PC manufacturers benefit from bounties they collect for preloading software, so the economics would appear to work against clean Vista PCs. The bounties help cushion already tight margins.
For many enterprises, craplets are little issue, because of re-imaging. Smaller businesses are more likely to get whatever OEMs put on the PC. But if enterprises re-image, what value do software and services providers get from paying bounties for PC placement? Google paid Dell a billion bucks for search placement, but what's the value if big businesses, which are big PC purchasers, re-image?
In March, we asked Microsoft Watch readers to opine about craplets. Commenter Matchwalk expressed common sentiment: "It's so refreshing to hear others saying the same things I think about. Why do (almost) all PC makers have to include all the crap that comes with the OS, other than to make extra money from advertising and sponsorship?"
The Windows Vista Welcome Center is one potential craplet remedy. Rather than load up unwanted software, PC manufacturers could place links to software—either for download or on the PC but not installed—in the Welcome Center. The latter option would put the software on the computer, but give the end user the choice to install or not.
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