Update: Now, that's the power of the web at work. After a mere few days of severe bashing from the online community, Sony has stepped back and removed the $50 charge for their "Fresh Start" option that gets rid of unwanted pre-installed software. You will still need to pick Vista Business ($100 extra) over Home Premium to select the option however.
In a move that is not going to garner any good publicity to Sony, its Vaio PC division has come up with a new customization option for ultra-portable laptop models TZ2000 and TZ2500. For a $50 fee, they are willing to remove some of its own trial applications, and other third party time-limited software that would normally come pre-installed on such systems. Furthermore, the so-called "Fresh-start" option requires Vista Business which is $100 extra on top of the above. You can already hear the screams from the online community, and especially from those who wouldn't buy a Vaio anyway.
Pre-configured OEM Windows PCs have for a long time received the thumbs down for bundling a huge load of trial applications that can many times be difficult to uninstall, can potentially slow down your system, and finally just make a hassle for the consumer to spend money for something they didn't ask for in the first place.
Manufacturers have blamed slim profit margins and harsh low-cost competition for looking into other ways to turn a profit on computer sales. It seems like the excuse has been reused too many times now. Sony, Dell, HP, and the rest of the pack could learn a thing or two from Apple for once. Yes, I just said that.