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Sony The Almighty Buck

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

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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  • Geez. forget it. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:13PM (#22823826) Homepage Journal
    Almost seems easier to just buy the Windows OEM version and install from scratch. Can you get a rebate on a Vista license bundled with your laptop that you aren't using like you could on previous versions of Windows?
  • Not shocking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by moogied ( 1175879 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:14PM (#22823836)
    Consider that best buy, circuit city, and every small time PC repair shop on earth offers this exact same service. People already pay hand over fist to have someone else run some basic software, or in Sony's case... run that software once, update the image, and image that option onto your PC instead of the bloated one.
  • by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:14PM (#22823838) Homepage Journal
    Instead of allowing them to charge you for removing Windows, simply don't accept the EULA and call Sony to get your money back. Research it online--there's been a lot of people who have been refunded the Microsoft tax for just a few hours of work.
  • by bwy ( 726112 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:19PM (#22823914)
    This is one of the most refreshing things about a Mac- you don't have to reload the OS as soon as you buy the machine. I would NEVER use a preload version of XP or Vista. Never, ever, ever.

    I haven't seen what Ubuntu preloads look like from the likes of Dell. Hopefully, it is nice and clean and about what I would do if I installed it myself and got all the drivers working.
  • by Animaether ( 411575 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:29PM (#22824018) Journal
    if you were a fan boy, you'd pretty much be a fan of "not that I have much choice in the matter".

    Yes, it's wonderful that Apple doesn't bloat up the default installations of Mac OS. Then again, it's not Microsoft that's bloating up the default installations either - it's the computer manufacturers. Apple is in the sweet position to be both the OS developer and the manufacturer + distributor of their computers.

    On the other hand, you -can- get a 'Windows PC' that doesn't have any bloat. You can get one that has internet-specific bloat. You can get one that has games-specific bloat (popular games server management stuff pre-installed), etc. You get a choice.
    Yes, I know, by far the majority of those choices will have -some- manner of bloat. But, again, you do get a choice.

    Personally I don't see why anybody would actively -choose- any sort of bloat, but maybe that's just because the appropriate bloat hasn't been presented to me yet. Let's say there was a 3D graphics computer that with pre-installed Blender, The Gimp / Cinepaint, InkScape, etc. I wouldn't particularly complain about that 'bloat'.
  • by klubar ( 591384 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:37PM (#22824100) Homepage
    In some ways, Sony is at least being (partially) honest in that they explicitly price the removal. Other vendors hide the cost by wrapping bloatware free versions into specific models (for example, Dell's Vostos and Optiplex) don't have much bloatware, but are not exactly identical to an equivalent model.

    Does anyone know how much the vendors actually get for installing various trial versions?

    Also, there is some danger of one man's bloatware being another's convenience. For example is pre-installing Adobe Acrobat and Flash bloatware or value? How about Google toolbar? Firefox? And on down the line... iTunes?

    And, Macs aren't exactly bloatware free. Quicktime is a trial version with a nag screen to upgrade. Macs come with trial versions of Office (how much does Microsoft pay for that) and Omni outliner.
  • by Kahless2k ( 799262 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @05:40PM (#22824132) Homepage
    When my shop sells any new system, my techs go over the machine before it leaves the building - the first thing I have them do is remove the crapware (including the Norton trial most come with), load Avast if they dont have their own AV, install Spybot, windows updates. The idea is that the user can take full advantage of the system from the moment it leaves the store.

  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <<megazzt> <at> <>> on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:12PM (#22824424) Homepage
    PC Decrapifier isn't very good. I tried it on a computer with a dozen programs that I would consider fit the bill... it only found two, and could only remove one IIRC. The other one was easily removed using the program's own uninstaller, so it's obvious PCD doesn't even try very hard.
  • by KillerBob ( 217953 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:40PM (#22824688)

    When my shop sells any new system, my techs go over the machine before it leaves the building - the first thing I have them do is remove the crapware (including the Norton trial most come with), load Avast if they dont have their own AV, install Spybot, windows updates. The idea is that the user can take full advantage of the system from the moment it leaves the store.

    Y'know, some users would consider your choice of software to be little difference. Your choice in software is perhaps a little more benevolent, but you're still making software choices for your user, and installing stuff they didn't ask for. Plus... from your wording, I'm assuming that you're a reseller, and that systems from Lenovo/HP/Dell/Whatever are leaving your building? What happens when your customers call up Dell tech. support and expect help with Avast? After all, it came with their computer....

    You may also want to check on the EULA conditions for Avast, because I *think* what you're doing is against the license. It's certainly against the AVG license.
  • Re:I wish, I wish (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Friday March 21, 2008 @06:56PM (#22824838)

    Y'know, it's not that hard to build your own computer. If you're not shooting for a bottom-of-the-barrel $399-plus-cheese-grater model (in which case, you should be shot) you can generally save money that way, too.

    In this month's MaximumPC, for example, they have step-by-step instructions with pictures for building your own $1500 gaming rig. PDF Version [] You can spend considerably less if you don't plan on doing any gaming - cheaper video card, slower processor, and the like. And, it comes with any OS you want! ^.^

  • Re:My next laptop? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CanadianRealist ( 1258974 ) on Saturday March 22, 2008 @07:17AM (#22828260)
    If I should happen to see a BMG or Bertelsmann laptop, you can bet that I'll be laughing as I turn away and say "No!"

    Otherwise, since Bertelsmann is not a household name like Sony, from Widipedia:
    Bertelsmann consists of six corporate divisions:[2]

            * RTL Group, Europe's biggest broadcaster
            * Gruner + Jahr (a magazine publisher, the biggest in Europe)[3]
            * Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG), which mainly consists of 50 percent interest in Sony BMG[citation needed]
            * Random House, the world's largest trade book publisher (popular literature)
            * Direct Group, the world's largest book and music club group
            * Arvato AG, an international media and communications service provider

    I don't live in Europe and I don't subscribe to or purchase any paper magazines. I don't buy many CDs these days. DVDs are usually bought only on special sales, clearances etc. I haven't bought anything from Random House recently. I don't subscribe to any book or music club. Not sure what Arvato really does.

    It seems that I'm already boycotting Bertelsmann quite effectively by general lack of need or interest of their products.
    Besides which, I really don't see anything on that list which could ever equate to a laptop purchase.

The last thing one knows in constructing a work is what to put first. -- Blaise Pascal