Samsung Sued Over Phone Bloatware in China


A Chinese consumer protection group has filed lawsuits against the tech giant Samsung and the Chinese manufacturer Oppo for their use of bloatware on their smartphone products. The Shanghai Consumer Council’s argument is that the two companies pre-install an overly excessive amount of additional and unnecessary apps on their devices before selling them to consumers. In addition, the council believes the bloatware apps to be too difficult to be removed. The lawsuits were initiated after a significant amount of user complaints. Users of these smartphones are frustrated with the less than expected amount of storage space due to the bloatware apps already taking up a great amount of data space. Another issue occurs when over time, apps and bandwidth become larger which causes the user to continually upgrade providing a monetary advantage to the phone maker.

Depending on the outcome, the Shanghai Consumer Commission's case against Samsung could set the precedent that manufacturers are allowed to install whatever they want on consumer electronics, so long as the eventual buyer knows about it. It could also create a situation where the consumers have a lot more say over what is pre-programmed into the phone before they buy it.

On one of Samsung’s flagship devices, the Galaxy Note 3, the council found 44 pre-installed bloatware apps, while on the Oppo Find 7a, there were 71 apps found. The Shanghai Consumer Council hopes that the lawsuits will deter other companies from following Samsung‘s and Oppo’s practices and eventually require manufacturers to inform consumers regarding pre-installed bloatware.

Bloatware is not an uncommon occurrence in smartphone products. Many phones, especially in the carrier variants, are available with already pre-loaded apps that the majority of phone users never open. However, other electronic products, not just phones, also have unwanted software. Smartphone are not the only products that run into this issue as computer brands, such as Lenovo, have shipped PCs pre-installed with the Superfish adware.

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