Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Crapware Carnival

A while back when we replaced my wife's laptop, and eventually ended up going through a Sony and a Lenovo before finally settling on a Macbook Pro, I'd meant to do a post on the difference between the out-of-box experience of the three.

The 'OOBE' for PC's is *horribly* broken. Both the Lenovo and Sony machines came loaded with so much crap I could hardly believe it. That Best Buy can charge money to "fix" a brand new computer, or that MS views offering PC's free of such junkware as a 'signature' offering are sure signs of how broken the PC platform is. The mac OOBE was, well, all the consumer electronics sensuality you've come to expect from Apple.

Catching up on my holiday feed-reading, another Seth Godin post on the subject caught my eye, as I thought he summed the problem up perfectly:

The digital world, even the high end brands, has become a sleazy carnival, complete with hawkers, barkers and a bearded lady. By the time someone actually gets to your site, they've been conned, popped up, popped under and upsold so many times they really have no choice but to be skeptical.

I'm a big believer in open platforms and open markets. The upside is that it provides more choice, better pricing, and more end-user say. The downside is that at it's worst, an open market devolves to a cross between a wild west town and the above-stated carnival - with no sheriff in town to protect you from the bearded lady.

If the PC vendors can't find a way to compete other than using crapware to subsidize the race for the lowest sticker price, then Apple deserves to win.

The correct way to treat a customer who just forked over $800 of hard-earned money for your product is not to say "how about you hand over another $30 to a "partner site". Instead, PC vendors should be finding out how to say "You just chose us to give your hard earned money to, and because of that, we think you are a fantastic, intelligent, and downright sexy person. We are sending over our VP of marketing to cook you waffles while you relax on the couch!"