This entry about a fella’s (nasty) experience installing Quicktime made me both chuckle and nod in understanding.
Apple has a reputation of being so easy to use, so consumer friendly, so I gotta ask: what the $&@#! were those folks smoking when they went ahead with this install process? This is about as consumer-hostile as you get. It’s annoying and downright rude.
In fairness, Apple’s not the only company that should be forced to sit in a corner and repent. Other misbehaving miscreants include AOL and Real; I installed the most recent beta version of AIM only so I could play with the new Plaxo integration (which is actually slick and damn cool [see disclaimer]), but I sure as hell didn’t want a stupid Web browser (“AOL Explorer”) piggybacked on top, nor did I ask to have AIM sit in my system tray and be present upon every Windows startup. And regarding the Real Player, well… despite being very tempted to install it so I can watch some in-Real-format-only clips on the Web, I’ve put off sullying my new computer, ’cause I remember what a splatting mess the install was last time.
Look, companies, I know many of you have quasi-monopolies or oligopolies, but these are fleeting. Honest. I truly believe you’re going to get your butts kicked on the ground if you continue to treat your users — especially influential geeks — like saps who are expected to just roll over and accept all of your default system changes and detritus.
There are lots of awesome programs that do behave themselves: asking the user if they’d like to have things run at startup or if they’d like icons placed here or there. Some of the install processes even include prominent AND NON-LEGALESED terms of service, so we don’t have to either scroll through 478 lines of gooblygook or worry about what happens if we just ignore it.
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It may take a while, but we users will win in the end. So, dear companies, now is the time to do the right thing… before it’s too late. Earn our trust, serve our needs and (maybe) then we’ll be amenable to your upgrade offers and cross-promotions. Get us to love, not hate, your brand and you’ll be rewarded in the long term.