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Bloatware is still very much alive in Windows 8

Published Nov 27th, 2012 1:05PM EST
Windows 8 Criticism Bloatware

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OEMs just can’t help themselves. For years, one of the most annoying aspects of PCs has been that OEMs have clogged up their machines with tons of bloatware that most normal people never use and that takes up significant storage space. And according to a new report from InformationWeek, bloatware is still a significant issue for Windows 8 computers, despite Microsoft’s (MSFT) best effort to steer OEMs in the right direction with its Surface tablet.

To get a sense of how bad this is, consider that Lenovo’s ThinkPad Twist — an enterprise-centric PC, mind you — comes preloaded with Fruit Ninja. Now, you may think Fruit Ninja is a lot of fun, but is it really something that a CIO would want to see preloaded onto machines when IT departments haven’t even installed mission-critical business apps onto them yet? And it’s not only Fruit Ninja, either: The ThinkPad Twist also comes with AccuWeather, Amazon Kindle, the BlueStacks Android app player, Evernote, Expense Management, a trial version of Microsoft Office, the Rara music streaming service and Skype.

To make matters worse, the ThinkPad Twist isn’t even the worst Windows 8 PC that InformationWeek surveyed. No, that particular honor goes to the Acer Aspire 7600U, which comes preloaded with (take a deep breath!): Wild Tangent, Media, Photo, Cyberlink MediaEspresso, AIR Gesture, McAfee Internet Security Suite, Hotkey Utility, MyWinLocker Suite, Nero 12 Essentials, an Amazon weblink, a Lovefilm web link, MyET, Spotify, Evernote, Skype, Kindle, News Xpresso, Txtr, Hulu, IVI.RU, Netflix, 7Digital, TuneIn, eBay, Rakuten Gateway, Adera, Cut The Rope, Mahjong, Minesweeper, Pinball FX2, Shark Dash, Solitaire, Tap Tiles, Treasures of Montezuma III, Wild Tangent, Wordament, ChaCha, Crystal Eye, Encyclopaedia Britannica, iCookbook, Merriam Webster, WeatherBug, StumbleUpon, Travel and Ctrip.

Not every Windows 8 OEM decided to take the same path as Acer and Lenovo, mercifully. InformationWeek says that Samsung (005930) smartly kept bloatware to a minimum on its ATIV Smart PC and was the only OEM to not install any third-party software onto its machine. Other PC manufacturers could take a lesson here: decisions like this are one of the many reasons Samsung has been doing well over the past couple of years.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.


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