March 21st 2008
By Mike Flaminio
In the world according Jobs, user experience is king. From buying to setting up and ultimately using a Mac, people with big brains have put a lot of thought into the whole process and crapware isn't on the menu.
Call it a better way to sell computers or just simple respect, consumers are responding by buying a lot more Macs and giving Apple very high customer satisfaction (News.com) scores.
The PC way...
Sony is perhaps emblematic of PC makers response to this rising tide--realizing that the crapware is negatively influencing user experience, they've begun offering computers without the hated software. The catch is, however, they expect an additional $150 (PCWorld) for the privilege.
The "Fresh Start" option, billed as a software optimization, costs US$50, and is only available to customers choosing to pay an additional $100 to upgrade the operating system to Windows Vista Business from the Windows Vista Home Premium edition offered as standard.
So, consumers wanting a Sony computer that isn't hobbled with performance draining, frustration inducing crapware can expect to pay through the nose to get it.
[u] Wired reports that Sony has dropped the $50 fee, but still requires buyers to upgrade to Vista biz to get the option to go crapless:
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. Most sites covering the $50 Fresh Start charge were incensed at the idea of being charged to leave malfunctioning and unwanted software off--and Sony has responded with a speed unusual for the international giant.
Yes, it can be argued that the no crapware cost is built into the price of every Mac--Apple's margins are among the highest in the business. Yet the superiority of the Mac experience isn't defined by a lack of crapware alone...
What's your take?