Michael Dell: Anti-crapware poster CEO?

Michael Dell: Anti-crapware poster CEO?

Summary: Dell CEO Michael Dell, speaking in New York City at its Vostro launch, sounded like a man almost ready to rid the world of trialware, which we call crapware. And there's a good reason for that: Crapware costs Dell money on customer support.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Dell
59

Dell CEO Michael Dell, speaking in New York City at its Vostro launch, sounded like a man almost ready to rid the world of trialware, which we call crapware. And there's a good reason for that: Crapware costs Dell money on customer support.

"Customers really hated trialware," said Dell, who is speaking live at the time of this post.

Dell also made an interesting point regarding trialware--it's part of the reason customer service has taken a hit.

On customer service, Dell said "we have seen significant improvements last six to 12 months." "We want to do a lot more. We're putting a lot more technology in products to prevent problems," said Dell.

He also noted that "trialware is a support issue. "You click on it, it's not working and you call. Just take it all away and you don't have those problems."

That comment brings an interesting point in terms of costs. Can we quantify the costs to Dell based on trialware? And does that match what Dell gets paid to put this junk on a PC in the first place?

On the small business side, it appears the figures don't line up in Dell's favor. It removed trialware because it's one more reason for a small business to call support--and that costs Dell money. Remember Vostro is about buying a PC and services.

On the consumer side, perhaps the dollars Dell gets from trialware surpasses the customer support costs.

Frank Muehleman, vice president and general manager of Dell’s small and medium business division, said that trialware had been on home/small business PCs, but not corporate ones. On the consumer side, Muehleman noted that “some customers want trialware."

We'll see if that pans out over time. Updates to follow as Dell speaks.

Topic: Dell

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

59 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Always the option of supplying a CD of the SCHEISS

    ....to consumers such as myself, allowing me, in this open transparent democratic free society that we all have the honour to share in, and have the obligation to protect... to allow me at least to have the option of maybe "soiling" my PC with ONE OF TWO of such programs, perhaps only temporarily. Folks with far better educations than yours truly debately consider them a useful marketing tool. MORE, please, but include more OPTIONS for the apostates.
    Feldwebel Wolfenstool
    • Options for Dell

      Ich Deutsch sprechen. Kannst du MERDE sagen HIER?...

      I didn't think so...

      Dell has much more than the bottom line to think about here.
      I know it is old fashioned, but what about that thing called the CUSTOMER? And CUSTOMER CHOICE? That is the secret to FOSS. You usually get to CHOOSE to have or not have software. You have an easy UNINSTALL choice if you don't want it. Not so with most of the CRAPWARE on a Windblows system.
      Offering the install CD of ONLY crapware sounds like a good compromise. You want ANY, just load the CD...
      Old Timer 8080
  • Dell Top Failure Rate On Laptops?

    Leo the tech guy confirms it, repair shops echo the charge -- Dell has the worse failure rate among the top laptop producers.

    Why would I buy from another rogue Texas company? Seems the culture in Texas is anti-consumer, anti-labor, anti-quality.

    Just like Radio Shack - they couldn't sell their way out of debut -- because people stop trusting you when you abuse them.
    author20@...
    • Dells are made in Tennessee

      The plant is right outside of Nashville. That's why Dells I've ordered have come in within 2 days on 3-5 day shipping.
      BCF1968
      • You're both right...

        As a former (thank goodness) Dell employee, I can say you're both right. Dell PCs are assembled in both Nashville Tenn. and Round Rock, Texas.

        But your are wrong on where the laptops are "made". Laptops are assembled, meaning they have the covers put on and all the accessories put into the boxes in Round Rock, Texas. But they are made by a 3rd party contractor in Korea and Taiwan.
        Oregon_Polar
  • Crapware subsidizes the cost

    of todays PC's. Someone is going to have to pay for the lack of crapware installed on PC's. Or as dell is doing, sell cheaper components.
    bjbrock
    • RE:Crapware subsidizes the cost

      Well if the cost of phone support for crapware is exceeding the the savings, then the cost of the PC should remain the same.
      mrlinux
      • I doubt it...

        "Well if the cost of phone support for crapware is exceeding the the savings, then the cost of the PC should remain the same"

        That would make sense, but I have heard nothing but complaints from Dell customers getting 0 software support on new Dells. They are (allegedly) all told (in a non-Texas accent) "Insert recovery disk, reboot, follow instructions, have a nice day." Its usually the second phonecall when the customer wants to know where all their photos, data etc. went that things get fired up and then they get the "We are not responsible for lost data" blurb.
        ... allegedly.
        Chippolus
        • You got it right

          I might add, why don't the mfrs of home-computers martition the hard drive to include a partition for the sole purpose of data storage and include instructions to the users on using the second partition. It would save a great deal of problems.
          Hey U
          • About Partitions:

            "why don't the mfrs of home-computers partition the hard drive to include a partition for the sole purpose of data storage and include instructions to the users on using the second partition"

            Dude... they can't DO that. Know why? Cos they use that partition to hold the recovery information. You know, like on an e-tower when you press F-11 on bootup and it wipes your drive and re-installs all the crapware you deleted and all of your personal photos and docs?

            This is how they get out of having to GIVE you the operating system Install disk, especially with Vista installations, which corrupt easily and can only be repaired by using the install DVD.
            XweAponX
          • Partition Fixes & Mike Dell

            I'll give you a hint: GRUB ( the LINUX boot manager ) can give you access to that recovery partition. It worked on an HP Slimline that got hit by lightning...Talk about resurrecting the dead...

            Michael Dell CAN win. He just has to keep LISTENING...

            And keep his word.
            Old Timer 8080
      • But I thought Windows Vista was the crapware

        I don't know what all the fuss is about, I got all the crapware I ever need in my computer from from the OEM, every time I turn it on, the firat thing I see is a big advertisement for some over inflated, memory and resource hoggng bloatware program called Vista...
        jaybyrd
    • Crapware like anything with the name "Symantec" on it?

      I used to blame "Norton" for all the problems with resource-hogging and system-file replacing "utilities" that are about as useful as a wart on a frog.

      It was only recently I learned that "Norton" isn't the problem... Norton was a victim, just like WRQ and also the makers of GHOST. Taken Over. Symantec, the swallower of utilities that are actually useful- until symantec uses it to bloat another program.

      Be careful what you call crapware: Symantec is just as worthless as Wild Tangent- Which, about a year ago... Was being deleted as Malware by Ad Aware.

      What is crapware? Crapware = a pre-install of Office, which is not really installed, if you get my drift.

      If they are gonna pre-load Office into systems, it ought to be the real thing, not some 1 and one-half day trial version.

      But my tangent about wild tangent and stuff is just a tangent.

      The point is, this guy is right: The more CrapWare on a system, the cheaper it is: Look at ANY E-Machines computer- If a 3 gig Emachines Celeron starts up in less than 10 minutes... Something is wrong, they must have missed a few crapware packages.
      XweAponX
    • Did you read the article?

      Michael Dell himself suggested that the cost of phone support calls generated by trialware issues may negate the subsidy benefit.
      brad@...
    • What?

      If it is costing them in Tech support and the consumers to have people come and remove the crap, how is that profitable or cost efficient?

      Better idea: Provide links to the most used third party software in the "Start" menu or the Internet Explorer favorites, and they can try what they want WHEN they want of IF they want. Still subsized, but no fuss no muss on the computers. Leave the responsibility up to the consumer, not Dell.
      Crestview
  • Oh, whoa is me....

    Please don't pick on poor cash strapped DellBert! Just because Micheal was/is having cash flow problems from one pocket to the other is no reason to whine about crappy HW and SW. Hey it's expensive to live in Tex-ass he had to do something to pocket more dough. I mean could you imagine what a shock and shot to his image is: being compared to CRAP!
    fredfarkwater@...
  • I'm not against crapware...

    What I am against is crapware being pre-installed on the HDD. If I need to re-
    image the computer from the restore disk or HDD partition crapware is again
    installed. UGH! We shouldn't need to spend time uninstalling crapware from a new
    PC.

    Some crapware may well be worth purchasing perhaps. How about doing this: Put
    only the OS, drivers and, the like on the HDD, while having a separate CD/DVD
    with all the crapware on it, not preinstalled on the computer. When the user wants
    to see a crapware program allow them to run a demo from the CD/DVD without
    installing it. Possibly watch a in-depth video of it in use or some such.

    As for supporting crapware the vendor could say up front they'll only support the
    OS. If a person has an issue with crapware they must call the vendor of that
    program not the PC vendor. Yes I know Joe Sixpack will have fits over that one.

    Just a thought
    BubbaJones_
    • or

      The cd/dvd idea may not go over well because it is an additional cost. But how about a "trialware folder" same idea you choose if you want it or not and yes let the software vendor support their own stuff.
      lipl1
      • additional cost?

        Mass produced CDs are about 25 cents apiece. This is too low to matter.
        olaney@...
        • That drops to around $ .10/CD

          In quantity. x10,000 lots...

          ************

          Think of the RESOURCES that crapware sucks up on the system.

          Add to that the PITA it takes to FULLY remove the stuff..

          It often take the full hour to purge the stuff on a new system.
          ( that includes the BRAIN ( registry ) surgery.

          The customer leaves happy. He/she gets the speed they paid for. No more annoying popups for crap they didn't want in the first place. They can even load THEIR familiar software...and have it work the first time..
          Old Timer 8080