Whenever anybody asks me for my take on Windows 7, I share my largely positive reaction, but am careful to insert a note of necessary gloom: If PC manufacturers lard up Windows 7 machines with adware, demoware, and various other forms of unwantedware, they’re going to ruin a good thing.
Turns out Microsoft apparently has the same concern. Over at TechFlash, Todd Bishop is reporting that the company is not only selling PCs at its retail stores and online but has customized them to be free of junkware (and to include a bunch of Microsoft apps and services, including the ones it removed from Windows 7.) Here, for instance, is an HP Pavilion that sells for the same price it does at HP’s own site (OK, for a penny more).
I’m not sure whether Microsoft hopes to sell vast quantities of PCs, but even if these “Signature” systems are nothing more than an experiment, I like the idea–and I’d like to think that they’ll shame the worst offenders among PC manufacturers into shipping machines that treat Windows 7 (and more important, customers) with a certain degree of dignity that’s often lacking in the PC world. (The lack of cruft on Macs is one of several reasons why all Macs make a better first impression than most Windows systems.)
Side note: I just bought an Asus thin-and-light notebook that’s running Windows 7. It’s certainly not crippled by crud, but I can’t understand why Asus dumps an icon for a little self-running sales demo of the PC on the desktop. Isn’t that a little like a realtor telling you it’s your responsibility to remove the FOR SALE sign from the house you just bought?