Lenovo promises to cut the crapware in the wake of Superfish debacle
Lenovo promises to cut the crapware in the wake of Superfish debacle via Ars Technica » Peter Bright
Lenovo announced today that it will stop shipping PCs with adware and bloatware and that it now aims to be the “leader in providing cleaner, safer PCs.”
This response comes in the wake of a massive backlash after the company was found to be including bundled advertising software that completely broke the security provided by HTTPS.
Lenovo’s plan comes in two parts. First, the company will scale back preinstalled software. Its systems will include the operating system and any necessary drivers and software to make the hardware work (to, for example, support fingerprint readers or 3D cameras). It will also include some Lenovo applications (such as the ThinkVantage System Update software, which is a genuinely useful app for updating drivers and system firmware) and security software.
More nebulously, the company also says that in “some countries” it will include software that is “customarily expected.” Our understanding is that in some markets, particularly non-Western ones, there are expectations about, for example, default browsers and search engines. The company’s statement will allow it to continue to meet these expectations.
This move represents a solid step forward. It’s still some way short of Microsoft’s Signature Edition scheme—that also requires the use of Windows’ built-in security software instead of third-party apps—but it’s a substantial improvement, especially for consumer-oriented systems.
The second part of the plan is that the company will list all the software that is preloaded on its PCs and explain what each piece of software is for. There should no longer be any Superfish-style surprises; one of the things making the Superfish situation more complex was that Lenovo never disclosed that the software was preinstalled on its product listings.
The company also says that it will be continuously seeking user feedback about what software should and shouldn’t be installed.
For users who were affected by the Superfish software, Lenovo says that it will provide a free six-month subscription to McAfee LiveSafe.