by Kaj Kandler
Dell Computers is further responding to its customer’s public request. After offering some of their PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu Linux, they now offer an increasing number of PCs with only a minimal set of pre-installed software packages. Gone are the AOL installers, the music players, the DVD player programs, if the customer wishes and specifies so at the time of order.
However three programs remain:
- Google Tools – for correcting misspelled URL’s
- PDF Reader – To read documentation delivered in this format
- Anti Virus Software (trial versions) – “Because customers expect their computers to be protected at first boot”
To me only the Acrobat Reader makes sense, as not being able to read the documentation is not very helpful. Although one could offer the documentation either in MS Help format or in HTML, both being universally accessible with the plain operating system. Although HTML could be debatable, once IE is stripped. but in most cases some kind of browser would be installed.
The utility of Google Tools just for mis typed URL’s strikes me as odd. I don’t like this kind of technology, because it tries to guess what I want and the guesses are more often than not correct.
Last, but not least, trial version of Anti Virus Software, because customers expect it to be installed? You must be kidding me! Doesn’t the current versions of MS already include such protective software? So why need another trial version installed? I don’t like and use any of these resource killers. But this argument does not hold water for me.
So I guess Dell simply has long running contracts with these vendors and it can’t easily bail out of them. With Dell’s responses to its customers wishes, I’m hopeful, sooner or later these things will be gone as well.
It will be interesting to see how this will change the landscape. Removing such programs from PC’s will certainly be not too good for Dell’s bottom line in the short run, as the vendors of these pay a hardware manufacturer to install them. It also should have impact on the companies that use these methods to market their products. One option we might see, is that Microsoft, the still predominant player in this market either needs to lower its prices to make up for the lost revenue or it will integrate these into the OS upfront and make up for its shrinking share of business. However, Microsoft is expanding the OS functionality into anything that has successfully be developed by others. MS included web-browser, anti virus, firewall, multi media player, video creation, and much more and bundled it as part of the OS. We all know what followed.
I’m still waiting for OpenOffice.org as optional install.