Friday, October 17, 2008

Paying Best Buy to "Optimize" Your Computer

The excellent price I got from Best Buy on our new laptop was the happy part. During the brief sales process, I was prepared for the sales guy to try to upsell me. I politely declined the offer to install anti-virus software for me. But when he asked me if I wanted them to optimize remove the pre-installed crapware for me, it was almost too much. He literally said "we will remove all the junk they pre-install on it"!

I know I am not the first person to make this observation, but how ridiculous is that--I'm supposed to pay them to remove the junk that comes on the product they sell to me?! As I've said before, it just completely undermines the user experience, unlike when you buy Apple. Needless to say, I curtly dismissed this pitch.

I think a big part of the problem is that margins are so thin in the PC hardware business, that the OEMs are just desperate for incremental revenue. It's almost like spam--even if only one person in 500 upgrades their pre-installed trialware to the payeware version, the comission on the pre-install still represents a desperately needed revenue stream for the OEMs.

I still say that a better user experience is an opportunity for a niche player in the Windows PC market.

PS What did surprise me was that the salesman never bothered to pitch two of the usual favorites--expensive cables and extended warranties. I guess my profile--cheapest laptop in the store, no time of day for the virus protection--told him I was a lost cause.

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