Interestingly, in their Scottsdale retail outlet, first of their new Microsoft retail stores, Microsoft has removed the crapware from the PCs on display. In a comment on a blog post from a Microsoft employee about the Scottsdale store, Jared Marino, Product Advisor from the Microsoft Store in Mission Viejo said:
You’ll notice none of the computers come with pre-installed software. This is called Microsoft Signature. Microsoft Signature PCs come with full versions of Microsoft software, pre-configured and ready to run. Great tools such as Windows Security Essentials and Windows Live etc.Some of that I might still consider crapware, but probably not Security Essentials and Silverlight, at least.
It would be wonderful if all PCs could be ordered this way. Some manufacturers offer it as an option, but not all do.
What I found just as interesting as that was the fact that, according to the post, the Microsoft employees were engaged with people, and knowledgeable as well. The perception that Apple products are superior, though pricier, is something that the stores are an obvious attempt to change. Knowledgeable, helpful, and engaging retail employees are a necessity to do that.
Watch the retail store ribbon-cutting: