The Superfish debacle has been an embarrassment and legal concern to Lenovo, a headache to affected customers and yet another concern for the security community. Now that the dust has had time to settle, we’re beginning to see the good emerge as a result of the ordeal.
Lenovo on Friday said the events of the past week have reinforced the principal that customer experience, security and privacy must be their top priorities.
With that in mind, the Chinese computer maker said they will significantly reduce the amount of pre-loaded applications on new systems with the goal of shipping cleaner, safer PCs.
The initiative is starting immediately and by the time they launch Windows 10 products, Lenovo’s standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software to enhance custom hardware (like 3D camera, for example), security software and in-house Lenovo software.
Lenovo added that in some countries, certain applications that are customarily expected by users will also be included. All other software – what the industry often refers to as adware and bloatware – will effectively be eliminated.
The company previous said it would never use Superfish again and has published a removal tool.
The inclusion of bloatware (unwanted programs, toolbars, utilities, games and screensavers) is unfortunately a common practice among computer manufacturers. What happens is software makers approach companies like Lenovo with their wallets open, offering to pay builders in exchange for pre-installing their applications. Although an inconvenience for users, it’s a tradeoff that most have been willing to make in exchange for added revenue.
Granted, not everyone is willing to stoop to such lows for a few extra bucks. Boutique PC builders typically offer a clean installation of Windows while systems sold through the Microsoft Store are classified as Signature Edition meaning they don’t come with bloatware.
Lenovo’s unfortunate incident is a huge opportunity for the rest of the industry and with any luck, it’ll serve as a catalyst for change. It’s time to ditch the bloatware.