Paul Thurrott makes a very good point in the latest Windows Weekly podcast (Episode 74 at time index 50:10). It hadn’t occurred to me until he mentioned it, but there is no crapware installed on a Mac. He makes the very good point that part of XP’s and Vista’s negative reputation is due to the fact that Microsoft has no control over how the OS is tuned or what crapware hardware manufacturers like Dell, HP etc. install on Windows machines.
Every time I set up a new PC (whether for myself or for friends and family), I spend hours removing the inevitable crapware. This is such an endemic problem that there are third party crapware removal tools like The PC Decrapifier available to assist with the problem. Most new PCs come with the CPU-cycle-sucking McAffee or Norton anti-virus software which also needs to be removed but which can’t be fully removed without registry editing skills (I recommend the free version of AVG). To make things worse, with most every peripheral my family and friends purchase, they inevitably install the crapware that comes with it, which almost never needs to be installed for the peripheral to function. Most of these ridiculously unnecessary programs sit in the system tray, always turned on, never needed, constantly sucking more and more life out of their poor XP or Vista OSs.
When I look back on my recent Mac Mini and iMac setup experiences, it was a delight turning them on and not having to deal with crapware – not having to deal with system performance degradation from the unnecessary use of system cycles – not having to uninstall anything. That’s how a users first experience with a computer should be.
Another aspect of this PC-specific problem is especially acute with laptops. While XP and Vista have their own power saving settings, most every laptop manufacturer overrides these controls with their own proprietary power controls, not to mention all kinds of proprietary software and drivers that are purportedly needed to run proprietary laptop-specific devices like finger scanners, blue-tooth and WiFi radios, integrated pointing devices etc. I never know how to handle these. They override the underlying OS functionality in unknown ways. I never quite know which of this stuff is necessary and which is crapware. So my laptops are always left untuned to some degree with needless OEM crapware gumming up the works. And I’m never sure what will happen to these specialized laptop apps (the ones that are actually needed) if I were to upgrade the underlying OS – so I never do.
This makes me think that my next laptop might just be an Apple product.
Paul mentioned that through its ‘Vista Velocity’ (discussed a bit by Paul here) program, Microsoft is now actively working with OEM’s to make sure they are using proper drivers, that the OS is installed on new machines for optimum performance etc. I’ll believe it when I see.
There’s no denying it, Apple’s end to end control of hardware and software gives it a consumer-satisfaction leg-up.
See this article where Ballmer addresses this issue.