Mossberg Tells PC Makers To Cut The Craplets

from the the-ad-supported-PC-is-back dept

Anyone who has bought a new PC in recent years knows all about the rigmarole associated with getting them going once they've been taken out of the box. In addition to all of the preferences, the user is faced with an onslaught of what are basically software ads in the form of trial services. Wall Street Journal tech columnist Walt Mossberg, who has certainly seen more than his fair share of computers over the years, was nevertheless struck by how ridiculous things have gotten, after experiencing the joys of setting up a new Sony Vaio laptop. In addition to two dozen pieces of teaser software for services from Napster and AOL, the computer came pre-loaded with four feature-length movies from Sony Pictures. Of course the movies, which were taking up valuable space on the hard drive, couldn't be viewed without first paying Sony. The problem, as Mossberg correctly identifies, is that computer manufacturers act as if the computer doesn't belong to the user, but is instead some platform for them to pitch services. It could be argued that all of these pitches help subsidize the cost of the computer, or at least help defray the growing Windows tax (the fact that as hardware prices continue to drop, the portion of a computer's price that goes to paying for Windows goes up). But it's not surprising, then, that consumers are increasingly interested in alternatives, like desktop Linux, as a way of avoiding the whole mess.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Apr 2007 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re: Sony VAIO

    but then they have to figure out how to put root kits on them

    The article was about advertisements, not root kits. Root kits should be fully disclosed before one buys a computer system, or the manufacturer should be sued for not appropriately advertising their non-standard modifications to system software.

    Man, the average worker just has no idea how rough the CEO's of these companies have it.

    They probably don't. If the CEO doesn't find a way to turn the marginal-cost product into a profit maker, it will be dropped and people will lose their jobs.

    However, if the division is large enough, the CEO may wind up keeping it going so the company doesn't have to suffer the monetary losses associated with shutting down operations, paying severance, and meeting other obligations under labor laws. The hope, there, for the CEO is that he can find someway to make a profit with the division in the future (or find some other way to exit with lower overall loss). While he is not making a profit, he is wasting capital that might otherwise go to a more profitable project. Either way, the CEO's job is on the line. Either way, the company's stock price will suffer, along with the value of any portfolio holding the stock, including your pension fund.

    I don't see how they do it on the little money they make.

    You might be surprised at what happens in commodity markets if you actually look into it. Even at its height, Enron was only making a 6% profit and a good portion of that was accounting fraud.

    it is not always even possible [to remove the crap].

    If the crap is in firmware, then you are right. We do need laws against deceptive practices and undisclosed extraordinary "features".

    Good idea

    Thanks for letting me know I got one right. :-)

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