Samsung and Oppo sued for preloading smartphones with bloatware apps.
The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission has announced that it has taken legal action against manufacturers such as Samsung and Oppo over their practice of pre-installing apps on their smartphones.A growing number of consumer complaints against Samsung and other smartphone makers has pushed Shanghai’s Consumer Council to take action against companies whose pre-installed apps gobble up memory on their handsets.
A consumer protection group in China is suing Samsung Electronics and a Chinese vendor for placing too many preinstalled apps on phones, and is demanding that the whole smartphone industry eschew bloatware. An investigation earlier this year found that it was impossible to uninstall 47 of the 71 apps running on Oppo’s X9007, while a version of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 had 44 pre-installed apps firmly lodged in place. For years (or since the massive growth of Android), several smartphone manufacturers have been criticized for pre-installing mobile applications, alongside their skins than run on top of the original Android interface programmed by Google Inc. The commission said that two of the offending models were a Samsung SM-N9008S (Samsung Galaxy Note 3), which had 44 apps installed prior to purchase and the Oppo X9007 model (Oppo Find 7A), which had 71 such programs. The council said consumers should be given details on any pre-installed apps, informed of how much memory they consume, and be clearly told how to remove the software.
In response, the group has filed the lawsuits in a Shanghai court, as a way to discourage smartphone vendors from weighing their products down with pre-installed software. The council requested that Shanghai First Intermediate People’s Court order both companies to comply with its mandate by adding related details to either the product packaging or instructions. The apps pre-installed on the Samsung device included an electronic dictionary along with an online shopping program, where as the Oppo device came with various games and other programs.
These apps, developed by Google’s rival, Microsoft Corporation, are pinned on the homepage of the smartphone in a folder called “Microsoft apps.” The Galaxy S6 has Skype, a communication app, OneDrive, an online storage, and OneNote, a file maker or note-taking app. According to Google’s definition on its search engine, a bloatware is a “software whose usefulness is reduced because of the excessive disk space and memory it requires.” “Users must initially contend with the usual bevy of bloatware (unnecessary toolbars, games of questionable value),” the search giant’s definition bar added. It’s also asking that the vendors explain to the buyer what pre-installed software is loaded inside the phone, along with its functions and memory size. The disclosed lawsuits also said that both companies didn’t inform consumers of the included apps, and it violates of the consumer’s right to know.
The Chinese consumer group wants a ruling that would make manufacturers legally obligated to inform customers about the apps preloaded on the packaging, in addition to providing consumers instructions for removing these apps. According to a research published by Strategy Analytics in 2014, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, Samsung’s mobile applications installed in the Galaxy S3 and S4 (older devices) are “unloved,” so much so that people “spend little time” on the company’s own messaging, music and even the highly publicized voice activated applications.
On average, owners of the aforementioned Galaxy phones spent just seven minutes a month on an array of Samsung apps, compared to more than 140 minutes on just three apps of Google: Play Store, YouTube, and Google search.