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Apple Is A Bad Windows Citizen

Over the past week, Apple has been raked over the coals for its force-feeding of new applications through Apple Software Update. The "update" word there might lead you to believe that Apple would only use the utility to deliver updates to software you previously installed. Yet Apple also uses its "update" program to download software you never requested.
Over the past week, Apple has been raked over the coals for its force-feeding of new applications through Apple Software Update. The "update" word there might lead you to believe that Apple would only use the utility to deliver updates to software you previously installed. Yet Apple also uses its "update" program to download software you never requested.A thread at the Apple site shows some of the worst of Apple-fanboy behavior. If Microsoft tried to deliver, for example, an evaluation copy of Office 2007 through Windows Update, the industry and users would go into nuclear meltdown over the outrage. Yet the Apple regulars spend lots of time carefully parsing the English words in each Apple Software Update message and declare it to be no big deal that an updater tries to give you Safari even though you don't currently have it and didn't ask for it.

Perhaps Apple and its fans may feel comfortable about doing software distribution through the same aggressive techniques pioneered by Windows crapware makers. Maybe Apple felt like it should fit in with the crowd -- "when in Rome" and all that. If aggression and dirty tactics are the way to peddle Windows software, then darn it, Apple isn't afraid to throw an elbow. That's the way it works -- getting your software down on the user's system, no matter what the tactics.

Here's a conspiracy theorist's explanation. Apple makes a competing operating system and fights with Microsoft OEMs for the same hardware customers, so Apple may not be concerned that Windows users get a less-than-stellar experience. It's like Apple throwing a Baby Ruth into the pool while nobody is looking, then pointing and yelling, "Doody! What a horrible user experience! Buy a Mac!"

In some ways, Apple has cleaned up its act in the past year. It used to be that Apple's QuickTime download page offered a prominent download for the QuickTime-iTunes bundle but hid the QuickTime-only download in a tiny link further down the page. Today, both options get equal billing, although the bundle is still selected by default. The "please spam me" e-mail address entry is optional, although you wouldn't know it by reading the form.

Fortunately, there is a way to say "no, thanks" to Apple's unwanted software advances -- or at least get it to leave you alone for a while. When you get the Apple Software Update pop-up, check the items you don't want and click Tools, Ignore Selected Updates. You'll need to do that when the next "update" of the unwanted software arrives, too. That is a bit of a misnomer, of course, since they aren't really updates. But why argue semantics when you're trying to keep Apple's unwanted software off your system?