Lenovo pledges an end to bloatware

March 2, 2015 | 11:17

Tags: #adware #bloat #bloatware #crapware #insecurity #malware #preload #security

Companies: #lenovo #superfish

Lenovo has found a way to turn its recent negative experiences with bundling bloatware on its systems to a positive, pledging to phase out unnecessary pre-installations and lead the industry into a new era of clean machines.

Chinese technology giant was dragged through the mud last month - and quite justifiably, too - for bundling Superfish, a revenue-generation adware package which contained a massive security hole, with its consumer-grade Windows systems. At first the company downplayed the issue; as wags took to social media to share a version of Lenovo's own security certificate signed with the Superfish private key, however, it was forced to own up to its misdeeds and pledge never again to install Superfish on its customers' systems.

Now, the company has gone one step further and announced that it will no longer pre-install any software on its systems which is not absolutely necessary for the operation of the machine. 'The events of last week reinforce the principle that customer experience, security and privacy must be our top priorities,' the company announced as it sought to repair its tattered reputation. 'With this in mind, we will significantly reduce preloaded applications. Our goal is clear: To become the leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs.

'We are starting immediately, and by the time we launch our Windows 10 products our standard image will only include the operating system and related software, software required to make hardware work well (for example, when we include unique hardware in our devices, like a 3D camera), security software and Lenovo applications,' the company continued giving itself a few outs in the process. 'This should eliminate what our industry calls “adware” and “bloatware.”'

While Lenovo is giving itself a bit of wiggle room, in particular by allowing the pre-installation of Lenovo-branded applications and security software along with the admission that 'certain applications customarily expected by users will also be included' in various regions, the company's pledge goes still further. 'Lenovo will post information about ALL software we preload on our PCs that clearly explains what each application does, and we will continuously solicit feedback from our user community and industry experts to ensure we have the right applications and best user experience,' its statement continued. 'We view these actions as a starting point. We believe that these steps will make our technology better, safer and more secure.'

The promise to detail everything that a user gets pre-installed on their system is a major shift for Lenovo, which had previously snuck advertising packages like Superfish onto users' laptops without warning in order to generate additional revenue. It could also mark a watershed for the industry as a whole, and will hopefully be followed by Lenovo's rivals in the near future.
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