Dell: “No Bloatware, Please”

I usually avoid doing posts like this, but it’s interesting to see there’s some buzz in the blogosphere about this recent post on Dell’s weblog about the extra pre-installed bloatware.

APC Magazine

Guardian Unlimited

Donna’s SecurityFlash

Randy Holloway Unfiltered

It’s nice to see that they’re starting to listen to the customers and recognizing they have a problem. It sounds like they’re starting to take some steps to “fix” it. The article talks about reducing the number of icons on the desktop which either means they are removing unwanted programs, or just removing the icons from the desktop.

The other interesting thing was:

“However, our performance tests in the lab have not found significant improvements by removing software trials and other executables—most of our software sits quietly on the desktop until you launch it.”

Of course it’s true that the software sits quietly on the desktop until you launch it, most of them don’t talk. However, I doubt that their performance tests took boot time into account. Memory useage? Not to mention lost productivity time clicking “No Thanks” to trailware nags. Also, I know disk space is cheap, but I know that Quickbooks trial software is on the order of hundreds of megabytes. I’d rather be using that disk space for more productive things like clips of Napoleon Dynamite ads for the Utah State Fair.
I think they really just need to change their business model in this area. There’s no reason they still shouldn’t supply a CD of “extras” along with the computer that people can choose to install. I suppose they could even put the setup executables on the hard drive, as long as I could blow them away with a click. Just don’t PRE-INSTALL THEM! Heck, why don’t they just put them all on their website for anyone to download.

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7 Responses to Dell: “No Bloatware, Please”

  1. The Ty says:

    Here here! Well said and in a perfect world, they should

    But never underestimate the almighty power of the advertising dollar. Exactly how much are they getting for “pre-installing” all of this crap software into the machine? AOL seems to think it works, even if it is less than 1 in 10 users that click on that icon at all. I am sure that is a high revenue source or they simply wouldn’t do it, it is more work for them to configure a system with all this bloatware on it. Capitalism in big business, looking at the dollar signs and not at what the customer wants or needs.

    Oh, and kudoes on a legal department homing in on you! Cheers!

  2. Chris Hays says:

    Does anyone know how much Dell actually makes on these trial software deals?

    I ask because they have great prices, and bloatware is probably part of the reason. If I’m saving hundreds of dollars and all I have to do spend an hour uninstalling software, I’ll take that trade-off.

    Sorry to swim against the tide of public opinion on this site!

  3. Jason says:

    In Response to Chris Hays,

    It’s a fair comment and question. I agree, if I’m saving *hundreds* of dollars. I would guess that there probably isn’t a per PC kickback to Dell. It’s probably some overall contract that they have. For example, say AOL pays Dell XX million dollars to put their app on all of their Dimension desktops for the next two years. AOL statistically estimates how much business they think they will get based on that.

    If you did do a per PC cost calculation, I would assume it’s on the order of tens of dollars and not hundreds. This leads people to the thought that they would be willing to pay the extra $20 to not have it. However, AOL (in the above example) doesn’t care, they have a contract and they want it on your PC anyway.

    So, I think it takes a whole business model change to get rid of the bloatware and that is why they are so slow to changing. They need to re-negotiate the contracts with all of their “suppliers” if they are motivated to move to a pay per PC model. Plus if you give the option, the words gets out and everyone says “uncheck that box.” Then none of the suppliers want to be on Dell computers, so they’ll find someone else… I think it’s one of those things where you just need to get the whole industry to just stop it.

    (I’m completely speculating on all of this)

    — Jason

  4. Kirt E. Stockwell says:

    I have been seeing a lot of misinformation regarding wiping and or restoring commercially loaded pcs such as dell and hp. The concensus seems to be that you have to buy a new copy of winxp if you want a clean load. Also confusion about the restore cd sets or restore partitions.

    Some tima ago Microsoft began requiring that the authentication sticker be placed on the machine. ANY pc that has the 25 digit code can be reloaded with ANY copy of winxp that is the same set (such as winxp, winxp-pro, xp-64, etc.) and this is not only technically clean but completely legal. When you bought that machine you also obtained a license to run ONE copy of Windows on A PC. Not that particular pc necessarilly. I frequently decommission dead pcs with viable licenses, build new chassis and load using the original license code and we’re back in business. As for the de-crapifier, I say THANK YOU and hey DELL, GET A CLUE!

    A joyous day to all!
    Doctor_K

  5. Jason says:

    In Response to Kirt:

    I wholeheartedly agree with your comment, except with the following statement:

    “When you bought that machine you also obtained a license to run ONE copy of Windows on A PC. Not that particular pc necessarilly.”

    When you buy a PC with a volume OEM license, you are purchasing a license to run ONE copy of Windows on THAT specific PC. It cannot legally be transferred. Here’s a website that I found where this guy is tracking what’s going on with XP OEM volume licenses…

    http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/oemeula.htm
    here’s another link:
    http://discuss.fogcreek.com/joelonsoftware/default.asp?cmd=show&ixPost=128390

    Obviously OEM PC manufacturers get a steep discount on Microsoft licenses and this is in part because they are non transferable.

  6. Rick says:

    Try getting Dell to sell you a PC without Windows. I ordered an E1505 Notebook but requested that it come without an operating system. I would have been nice if I didn’t have to pay for an OS that I wasn’t going to use. I’m not anti-Microsoft, I just administer Linux business systems for a living and I’m very comfortable with that OS. I was told there is “No Way” that they can do that. I could put in a special request to have my notebook sent to me without anything loaded on the hard drive, but this would delay the shipping date and I would still have to pay for Windows anyway.

  7. Laura Gustafson says:

    I paid the extra $10 to get the Windows OS disk, wiped my hard drive and did a fresh install. Good thing, since despite my request to not have McAfee loaded it was anyway. Dell needs to realize they could keep many of their customers happier by truly offering a PC free of junk applications.

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