Sony's deal wasn't that far from one that Michael Dell himself discussed last January. System makers want that money, and they don't seem to be afraid of pissing off their customers to get it. Their thinking seems to be, "If you don't want an inferior product, then pay us more and well take the crapware off the system." By publicly acknowledging this crass calculation, Sony acted as a lightning rod for a practice that's par for the industry.
No doubt, Microsoft would love to see crapware disappear because it ruins the user experience. The Windows logo is front and center, so users often blame Windows for their computer maker's bad decisions. In the past, Microsoft has tried to control the crapware situation, only to be attacked for antitrust concerns; Microsoft can't solve this problem. To be sure, Microsoft's hands aren't totally clean on crapware either. Windows Media Player has its own bloat and music deals that greedily demand your attention.
To take just one example, do we really need Napster, Rhapsody, MusicMatch, iTunes, and others pre-installed on our systems to steal file associations and beg for money? When I want to play a .wav file I would just appreciate it if the sound came out of the speakers -- and nothing more.