Computers

by Joseph Weisenthal




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
    Fed Up, 6 Apr 2007 @ 1:43pm

    No way around it

    Don't get the idea that you'll just reformat and reload Windows without all the crap either; the manufacturers don't usually provide a Windows installation disc. Instead, you have to use a "restore" disc that just puts all the crap back on. Think you'll just use a disc you already have? Well, the OEM license key that you got with your new machine likely as not won't work with it (M$'s way of protecting this little scheme for the manufacturers). OK, so how about you just bite the bullet and go out and buy a new retail box copy of Windows? To prevent this scenario many manufacturers, like HP, are starting to no longer provide the down-loadable drivers needed to make the hardware actually work without using the "restore" disc. They really do act like it's "their" computer and if you aren't going to install all "their" crap then they aren't going to let you use it.

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