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Sony The Almighty Buck

Sony Offers Bloatware Removal Service — For a Fee [Updated] 231

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the scams-and-other-marketing-ideas dept.
linuxwrangler writes "First Sony packed its laptops with Microsoft Works, Microsoft Office trial version, Corel Paint Shop Pro trial version, WinDVD and more. Now it is offering to remove the bloatware. Of course marketing changed the name from 'removing the crap we stuck you with' to 'Fresh Start' software optimization. And they want you to pay $149.99 to clean up their mess — $49.99 for 'Fresh Start' on top of the required $100.00 Vista Business upgrade. You can get about $25.00 of that cost back if you select all available 'no-software' options which are only available after selecting the $149.99 'upgrade'. Wonder what they would charge to remove Windows completely." Update 11:57 GMT by SM: It seems that massive outrage at Sony's "Fresh Start" program has encouraged them to drop the fee for scrubbing your laptop of bloatware before shipping it your way.
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Sony Offers Bloatware Removal Service — For a Fee [Updated]

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  • by Zymergy (803632) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:12PM (#22823822)
    I was assuming that PC Decrapifyer cleaned the plethora of extraneous Sony-specific applications, the list does not list one Sony item: http://www.pcdecrapifier.com/apps [pcdecrapifier.com]
    Still, is it is a very FREE and very Useful tool for new PCs.

    Another link OTFA:
    http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/21/sony-hates-you-offers-50-fresh-start-option-to-build-your-la/ [engadget.com]
  • by More_Cowbell (957742) * on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:16PM (#22823882) Journal
    "To uninstall a program, select it from the list and click "Uninstall""

    Not really that big a deal... I guess for $150 VS a few clicks and reboots, I'd rather keep the cash. (I have a new Vaio and already did this) Yes, I know it is only $50 but I have no need for Vista Business either.

    And if you are in a business buying a large volume of laptops (presumably the intended market?), wouldn't it still be more efficient to pay your IT guy to do the same?

  • Headline INCORRECT (Score:5, Informative)

    by Buran (150348) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:17PM (#22823892)
    Sony will NOT be charging a fee.

    Sony Drops $50 Fee to Remove Useless Bloatware [wired.com]

    Oops.

    Next time, do your research to make sure you have the latest info, mmmkay?
  • As usual... (Score:5, Informative)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:20PM (#22823932)
    Slashdot's late to the party.

    Gizmodo is reporting that Sony have already stated that starting tomorrow the service will be free.

  • Dell has this option (Score:4, Informative)

    by KevMar (471257) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:24PM (#22823964) Homepage Journal
    I saw that Dell has a small business line of PC's that they claim to ship free of all that bloatware. I dont remember the name of that product line. But I liked the fact that you didnt have to select it as an option, it was a standard feature.

    The first thing I do to every new computer I get (or my family) is to reformat and reinstall windows.
  • by gnutoo (1154137) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:26PM (#22823980) Journal

    This is why it's a good idea to avoid brand new hardware from unfriendly companies like Sony. If it won't work with PCLinuxOS, Mepis or one of the Ubuntu live CDs, you don't want it. XP won't work either, which leaves you with Vista and hunting for the dozens of programs needed to make Windows useful. You might as well give up. Hardware that's just a year or two older or that's "low power" will perform better under free software than new hardware under Vista and software that does not break XP is going to get harder and harder to find.

  • by fyoder (857358) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:33PM (#22824048) Homepage Journal
    From the Wired article you provided:

    Fresh Start will now be a no-cost option on Sony's slick subnotebooks, but only for those who opt for Windows Vista Business Edition, a $100 upgrade.

    Perhaps they should still offer it for regular edition, then market the business edition upgrade as "Upgrade to Business Edition and get Fresh Start free, a fifty dollar value!"

  • by cybereal (621599) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:39PM (#22824126) Homepage
    I have a Sony Vaio subnotebook with all kinds of crap installed on top of WinXP Pro. But here's the deal. You can make a CD version of their restore kit, though. And when you restore that way, they let you choose to ignore the little "restore partition" that wastes a lot of space so that's awesome.

    But the best part is, the "crapware" doesn't go on until the OS is all restored. It's clean until you finally boot back up and it starts asking for CD's again. At least in the version I have, you can cancel the process there. You'll have to get your own drivers from the download site, which isn't hard, they have a nice streamline downloader that produces a report and everything.

    So at least with my Vaio T-340P I had no troubles working around the (realistically minor compared to some machines) bloatware.
  • by p0tat03 (985078) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:44PM (#22824158)

    Hate to rain on your party as a fellow Mac user... But that's not quite true. Macs come out of the box with a junkload of pre-load software. Granted, the quality of them far exceed the kind of apps you see bundled on Dells and Sonys, but nonetheless, MacOS X isn't quite so clean out of the box.

    Oh, and a clean install of OS X takes FAR less room than what you would see on a Mac out of the box. I've done it before. Things like Garage Band take up a huge amount of space, and while I do like the app, most users will probably never run it.

  • by MojoStan (776183) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:45PM (#22824168)

    I saw that Dell has a small business line of PC's that they claim to ship free of all that bloatware. I dont remember the name of that product line. But I liked the fact that you didnt have to select it as an option, it was a standard feature.
    It's their super-cheap Vostro line of desktops and laptops for small business, which were introduced Summer 2007. Vostro hardware is nearly identical to the new Inspiron desktops and laptops introduced at the same time, but are "business black" instead of silver.

    The press release for the Vostro introduction [dell.com] described the "no trialware" feature:

    • "The Vostro branded products feature no trialware and simple to use tools that address top-of-mind problems such as data back-up, PC performance and health, and specialized networking support for customers without dedicated IT staff."
    Of course, some buyers probably think Dell's "support tools" is "bloatware," but I guess that's what you have to accept when you buy a PC with support and warranty.
  • by afidel (530433) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:45PM (#22824172)
    If you want a large number of PC's Sony is NOT who you choose. Many of their laptops have drivers installed in the OEM setup disk that flat out aren't available any other way. Most shops that have large numbers of machines use some sort of imaging setup and that doesn't work with an OEM edition of Windows, only with volume licensed editions.
  • Re:I wish, I wish (Score:5, Informative)

    by MojoStan (776183) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:01PM (#22824326)

    I wish, I wish I was a fish. And that we could buy computers without an OS if we chose to.
    Sure you can. You can buy Dell n Series computers without an OS installed, but with an obligatory copy of FreeDOS (not preinstalled). You're not really expected to install FreeDOS, but for some reason (maybe legal or contractual) Dell doesn't want to sell PCs without a bundled OS, so they bundle (but don't install) an OS that you're not expected to install. I wouldn't be surprised if other PC makers sold some computers (most likely business models) without an OS.
  • +4 Insightful? (Score:3, Informative)

    by linumax (910946) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:35PM (#22824648)
    Is this the result of collective wisdom of /. moderators?!!

    I'm writing this from Leopard, and my other two machines run Ubuntu but I have installed Windows (98 - XP) on several hundred different configurations, same goes for various Linux distros but that ignorant comment of yours, both about the time it takes to install Windows and how you'll have to track down "every single last driver" is nothing but trolling.

    I haven't installed Vista, so I won't comment on that.
  • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:58PM (#22824860)
    You can fix a whole lot of that advertising by setting up your hosts file. It works on Windows, Linux, and MacOS. This site is just one of many that will tell you how to do it and get you started with a pretty long list of useless advertisers that you won't have to see any more...

    http://www.mvps.org/winhelp2002/hosts.htm [mvps.org]

    As an aside, it can also help keep your computer from accidentally visiting sites that install crapware/spyware/adware on your system.

    But the only computer that I have ever bought already built and loaded with software from the manufacturer is my Mac laptop. All of my other systems - both past and present - were built from parts and that is the only way I'll ever do it. There are no subsidies and no Windows preinstalled. I get to choose what parts I want, put my money into performance where it is important to me, and get parts that are compatible and interchangeable that don't tie me to some warehouse vendor.

    I know that path isn't for everyone but it works very well for me. And if I was to ever buy some Windows-compatible laptop with stuff preinstalled for me, the first thing I would do is reformat it and install only what I want. If the company provides no way for me to do that (i.e. OS only provided on part of the disk partition and already preconfigured to include the crapware), I simply would not buy it.
  • Re:I wish, I wish (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mad Merlin (837387) on Friday March 21, 2008 @07:24PM (#22825080) Homepage

    You can also get Dells preloaded with Ubuntu (including in Canada, now!), just search their site for "ubuntu": http://www.dell.com/content/topics/segtopic.aspx/linux_3x?c=us&cs=19&l=en&s=dhs [dell.com]

  • Re:I wish, I wish (Score:2, Informative)

    by qopax (782239) <s@roman.gmail@com> on Saturday March 22, 2008 @02:44AM (#22827348) Homepage
    There are plenty of Asus barebone laptops that are sold without an OS. And you can buy any high-end parts for them too (well, C2D processors, video cards akin to an 8600gt, big hard drives, etc.)

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