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Sony charging extra to remove PC trial apps

updated 09:25 am EDT, Fri March 21, 2008

Sony Fresh Start

Sony has begun offering Fresh Start, a controversial practice to clean its systems of unnecessary software. Initially available only with the VAIO TZ ultraportable, the option removes both VAIO-specific programs as well as games and other trial software. The practice is meant to "free up valuable hard drive space and conserve memory and processing power" before the system ever leaves the factory, according to Sony.

However, the offer has already received criticism for its $50 cost, which lifts the price of the system despite restoring the performance that would be present with a default installation of Windows. The practice has often led to unusually long boot times and slower systems and, in 2007, saw Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg referring to preloaded trial applications as "craplets" for their tendency to ruin a user's experience.

Sony has historically responded by noting that the inclusion of trial software helps subsidize the cost of the system, which would normally climb upwards with a clean system. The PC builder has also claimed that roughly one third of its buyers use at least some of the bundled trial software. However, rivals such as Dell have in recent months offered higher-end systems without such software by default, instead rolling any costs for a clean install into the normal system price.

Apple as well as a handful of other PC vendors have touted clean systems as a performance and feature advantage over more common challengers.

by MacNN Staff





  1. MiMiC

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Buy a Mac

    Is what i took from the article (._.)

  1. wymer100

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not true with macs

    I love macs, but the statement that Apple doesn't bundle software is not true. They usually include a 30-day trial of MS Office. The extent of what Apple does not degrade system performance or really get in the way of things, but technically Apple does bundle.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: buy a mac

    Hmmm, that's odd. My PowerMac came with iLife, a trial of iWork, a trial of MS Office, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, Quickbooks PE (or some such nonsense), and several other things I never looked at. I believe my MBP had a lot of extras installed too.

  1. elroth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: re: buy a mac

    "Hmmm, that's odd. My PowerMac came with iLife, a trial of iWork, a trial of MS Office, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, Quickbooks PE (or some such nonsense), and several other things I never looked at."

    Did you buy it from Apple directly, or a third party reseller? My Macs have never come with all those things (except iLife, of course - are you complaining about getting that for free?).

    Even so, the programs you mentioned wouldn't lead to "unusually long boot times and slower systems" on a Mac, and they can easily be gotten rid of, more easily then Windows.

  1. DCineGuy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Even the moron...

    Even you, testudo, know what is being talked about. The Windows machines come with a lot of bloatware that boots up in the background.

    My clients have the worst time with the anti-virus software. They install the AVG software over the 30 day trial of whatever, and the DLLs get all screwed up when they try to uninstall the first one. Many end up not being able to boot, some just can't get online anymore. It is a real challenge to get them back on.

    The MBP software is also listed on the tech sheet, doesn't come on unless you ask it too, and is easy to uninstall if you don't want it.

  1. MacScientist

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: re: buy a mac

    testudo,/b> wrote "Hmmm, that's odd. My PowerMac came with iLife, a trial of iWork, a trial of MS Office, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, Quickbooks PE (or some such nonsense), and several other things I never looked at. ..."

    Apples and oranges. The demoware that is the bane of Windows users is, in fact, advertisements that the developers paid your OEM to include on the machine. And, yes, it is annoying because it kills performance. The demo titles included with your Mac, Microsoft Office Test Drive and Apple's iWork are demos, but have no effect on performance. GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, and Quickbooks PE are not demos. They are fully-functional respected software titles with licenses paid by Apple. Certainly in the case of GraphicConverter and OmniGraffle, these titles can be updated free of charge for up to years in the future.

    The Mac have issues, but demoware is not one of them. Try again.

  1. shaunymac

    Joined: Dec 1969



    thats enough to make me laugh. the last time i took a look at my sisters computer, which is a toshiba laptop, she had around 20-30 icons of c*** from the factory that was preloaded. Thank God that Apple doesnt do this. Apple does let us enjoy there software such as iLife, iWork, and .Mac and that's about it. Haha, i cant even tell you how many virus programs they put on there trying to lure here into using. Just for kicks i put Norton on my iBook G4 when i first got it and over a year and a half later....NOTHING. Gotta love it.

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree

    I agree with the sentiment that Macs do not come with bloat-ware. Sure, some Macs have a trial version of Office and iWorks, but on Macs these programs did not come installed (you have to install the trial software). Moreover, most people need a Office solution, and those programs are not in your face and have no effect on performance unless running.

    Finally, most included software is not software that other companies are paying Apple to install, but software that Apple is paying others to install.

  1. laroadster

    Joined: Dec 1969


    hp laptop

    i bought a new hp laptop the other day and the first thing i did, was get out my own vista install disk and reformat. i hate all that crapware that comes pre-installed

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