Last year Apple received its fair share of criticism from Windows users after enabling its software update tool that is usually installed along iTunes and Quicktime to also download and install the Safari browser. The result? A tripling market share in just a month. Later on Apple would rectify and stop checking the Safari download box by default.
In similar fashion, Ed Bott, blogger at ZDNet recently found Apple's software installer enabling another unwanted piece of software by default when prompted to update iTunes on a clean Windows 7 installation. This time the prompt was for downloading the "iPhone Configuration Utility", despite of the fact he doesn't own nor has he connected an iPhone to such computer. While this may seem like the perfect excuse to get back at Apple, this doesn't look as purposeful as last year's attempt to grab some market browser share. It is however some sloppy practice on Apple's part.
Perhaps the real story behind the story is the lack of consistence you get when every single manufacturer wants to push application updates while leaving standby processes running in the background. For once, Microsoft should promote a platform that could be shared among developers, streamlining the experience for the user. That's not to say third party companies couldn't do much better themselves rather than bloating your OS installation by default: Apple, RIM, Adobe, Nokia, even Google, you name it.
Editor's note: Two hours after writing this story I was prompted by Apple's Software Update utility to download updates for iTunes, Quicktime and also the iPhone Configuration Utility.