PC Makers Treat Your New Machine Like Their Ad Medium

The Journal’s Walt Mossberg buys his first ever PC loaded with Windows Vista, and finds the experience less than pleasing. Not because of Vista, but because of all the ads, special offers and other unnecessary crap the manufacturer — Sony in this case, though he says many hardware makers are guilty — has pre-loaded onto it.

On my new Sony, there were two dozen trial programs and free offers. The desktop alone contained four icons representing come-ons for various America Online services, and two for Microsoft. The start menu and program menu had more items that I neither chose nor wanted. Napster, a music service I don’t use, was lodged at the lower right of the screen.

The worst was a desktop icon called “Watch Hit Movies Now!” This turned out to be four full-length films from Sony’s movie studios, which the company had preloaded onto my computer at the cost of more than four gigabytes of precious hard-disk space. But they aren’t a gift. If you want to play them, you have to pay Sony.

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