Win7 'Signature' PCs: Zero Bloatware, MS Promises

Dennis Faas's picture

In its attempt to make Windows 7 a success and build a successful chain of retail stores, Microsoft has declared war on one of the most annoying parts of buying a new PC: bloatware. 

Bloatware -- known less charitably as crapware -- is trial software which PC manufacturers include with new computers. To the manufacturers and developers it's a great deal: the manufacturers get some bonus content while the developers can expose their products to new computer buyers.

However, many users find the programs useless and unwanted; they usually come with limited functionality until the full edition is bought. Even worse, the software uses up disk space and, where set to run upon start-up, eats away at memory. This leaves users having to remove the bloatware, a process which doesn't always go smoothly.

Microsoft, which has little or no control over what applications manufacturers put on their machines, also suffers the effects of bloatware. It makes new computers more sluggish, which many users will blame largely or entirely on Windows itself, even when it's not a fair assumption.

Signature PCs: A Slimmer Option

To counter this, Microsoft is selling a range of "Microsoft Signature PCs." Produced by Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Sony, the machines don't come with any third-party software. However, they do include a range of Microsoft products such as Silverlight (a rival to Adobe's Flash), Bing 3D (similar to Google Earth) and Microsoft Security Essentials. (Source:

Microsoft says this is not hypocritical behavior as all of these applications are free of charge and fully functional. However, it will irk those critics who believe the firm is finding another way to promote its own products and blur the barriers between operating system, applications and hardware. (Source:

Microsoft Begins its Chain of Stores

The PCs will be sold through Microsoft's website as well as in its new retail stores. The company is launching two stores in Mission Veijo, California and Scottsdale, Arizona in the next few weeks. These will serve as trial outlets before the company gradually expands the chain.

It's notable that Microsoft has opted to stock machines from five different manufacturers. Had it done an exclusive deal with one company, it could likely have secured very favorable conditions for the cut it took from each sale. However, doing so would have risked upsetting other manufacturers which would have been particularly unwelcome coming at the same time as the marketing push for Windows 7.

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