A Letter to the VZW CEO About Bloatware
I just sent this to Lowell McAdam, the CEO of Verizon Wireless. His email address is [email protected]. I urge people to send him friendly and well-worded emails about why we don't like bloatware.
Good afternoon Mr. McAdam,
I have been a Verizon Wireless customer since I got my first cellphone at the ripe age of 16. When I was 20, I finally got my own plan with Verizon Wireless and have been an extremely happy customer for the past two years. I just purchased the new Droid X and really looked forward to digging in to the Android Operating System and enjoying a nice open source phone. Much to my chagrin, the phone is full of a disgusting amount of bloat. I don't need BlockBuster, CityID, Amazon MP3, Kindle, Backup and Restore, Skype, or anything else from you! I can install my own apps that I want on MY phone, thank you.
At first, I was not particularly bothered by the bloat applications. I kept remembering that the community would come up with a way to root the phone and allow me to uninstall the applications. (By the way, rooting now became fair-use under the DMCA). Now though, I am rather upset. I learned that if you delete those applications, you can no longer perform OTA updates. That is kind of ridiculous! I just don't understand why I need to have these on my phone in order to update the operating system. The simple fact that I need to root my phone to uninstall these applications is a little over the top as well. If you gave us the option to uninstall things from our phone, I think we would be fine.
What is the point of the bloat anyway? Haven't you ever been annoyed by having extra programs installed on your computer that you don't want? At least you can uninstall those...
I am not expecting that you fix this immediately. But I am hoping that something can be done to fix this. Whether we are granted the right to remove the applications without root or we are allowed to do OTA updates with the applications uninstalled, I truly don't care. I just want to have the applications gone and the ability to update my phone.
Thank you very much for your time.
PS. I am posting this on the Android Central Forums (here: ) and CCing the staff there, along with The Consumerist.
- 07-26-2010, 01:08 PM #2
- 07-26-2010, 02:05 PM #3
- 07-26-2010, 02:06 PM #4
- 07-26-2010, 02:07 PM #5
- 07-26-2010, 02:27 PM #7
- 988 Posts
Yeah, bloatware that eats up system resources really irks me too. Like there aren't already finite limits to battery longevity, multi-tasking without slowdowns, etc, I can't for the life of me understand why they would force programs on us that we don't want while also hurting the fundamentals of the smartphone end user experience.
- 07-26-2010, 02:37 PM #9
- 08-12-2010, 11:50 AM #11
- 2 Posts
I sent the following the Mr. McAdam today as well, I encourage all users to do the same.
I also CC'd the consumerist as well.
Good afternoon Mr. McAdam,
I have been a long time Verizon Wireless customer, in fact for over 18 years. In that time, its amazing how much technology has changed - from "Mobile 'Bag Phones'" to today's amazing portable 1ghz+ mini computers - for example the Droid X I just recently purchased about 2 weeks ago. After waiting for it to come back in to stock and ship, I was thrilled to unwrap the product and boot up my first ever 'smart phone'. Being a hobbiest java programmer, I couldn't wait to dig in to the Android Operating System and enjoying a nice open source phone with the prospect of possibly developing some of my own applications, etc. I cannot begin to express how deeply disappointed, and in fact alarmed, I am to find out this product is loaded with 'Bloatware'.
I purchased this phone, albeit it at a 'discount' based on signing a 2 year service contract, and part of those terms include a penalty clause paying back up to $350 of the subsidized cost of the phone in the event I were to not fulfill my obligation of the 2 years. Understanding this, I still feel that the phone was purchased, not given to me, and that while it cost me $200 out of pocket (in fact $300, with a $100 rebate to hopefully follow), that in fact the subsidized cost is offset throughout the monthly fees I'll be paying over the next two years. I point all of this out in long-winded fashion to bring me to the point I am trying to make - I feel it is totally unacceptable for Verizon to take position that its in any way fair business practice to install bloatware on this device I purchased, and leave NO way to uninstall any of this bloat that I have no intention of ever using. (ie. city ID, etc.)
In fact, I further contend that aside from the day to day inconvenience of longer boot times, lost processor speed to run these unwanted applications in the background causing longer load/run times for desired applications, etc. that it goes further in that it ultimately causes unnecessary and in fact unauthorized wear and tear on items such as the battery (increased number of charge/discharge cycles from additional battery usage for 'bloatware), memory components (including the flash memory which certainly has a published life cycle of maximum number of anticipated read/write cycles being used unnecessarily by the 'bloatware'), and consequently related charging equipment & plug/receptacles, and so on and so forth.
Perhaps it would be prudent to review the contract documents that form the basis of the relationship Verizon has with its consumers - have we, as consumers, agreed to allow this unnecessary bloatware, with no option to uninstall it, as part of the contract we've signed? Have we agreed as consumers to the additional wear and tear these unwanted and uninstallable applications cause to the devices we've purchased? Is it prudent marketing to not allow your customers to elect to not utilize such applications? I understand the concept of introducing consumers to applications and perhaps even further subsidized some of the costs Verizon incurs in offering these devices by partnering with the various companies who've developed these applications, however, surely some vehicle for opting-out or being able to completely remove these applications after a forced trial period is the minimum Verzion needs to implement in order to treat their customers fairly, no?
I implore you to review your position on this matter. I am certainly not the first person to be struck by this issue, and certainly I am not the first to bring it to your attention. I am taking the time to personally write you to ensure you are aware that there are many of us out here who feel we are not being treated fairly and are expecting Verizon to act expeditiously to rectify this issue and ensure that we have the freedom to chose which applications are of value to us as subscribers to Verizon's wireless services, and allow us to utilize our purchased equipment in the manner in which we see fit without unnecessary wear and tear from bloatware not of our choosing.
Thank you very much for your time and review of this matter.
- 08-12-2010, 12:18 PM #12
- 08-12-2010, 12:24 PM #13
- 08-12-2010, 12:58 PM #14
- 1,064 Posts
It goes even further than that though. Not only do they NOT give you the option to uninstall it, but when you DO force remove it through root you run the risk of screwing up the phone. Certain bloatware is necessary for OTA's, which makes the situation even more complicated because now you have to put it back on the device. So yes it does bother us that much.
That's like buying a brand new car and you have to keep hearing ads for XM satelite radio every time you use the regular old FM radio (reference to annoying City ID.) That's a load of bullsh*t.
- 08-12-2010, 12:59 PM #15
For example Swype is a software keyboard that Motorola includes that they licensenced from the manufacturer to increase the capabilities of the phone.
CityID on the other hand the developer is paying Motorola (or Verizon) to include in hopes that after the trial period ends the user pays to continue using it. There is actually a chart out there for the CityID developers outlining that to get a return on investment all they need is nearly a spam level adoption rate.
Another example is blockbuster. Even if the user base is split 50% Netflix and 50% Blockbuster, there is still 50% of X owners that have no use for it.
None of this matters if A.) You could uninstall or prevent from running programs you didn't want running at start-up. or B.) for the programs that are installed that you don't want to use, but are not running all of the time, you could hide. Sucks they take up space but its rather small. But all of this require breaking your ToS/Warranty with Motorola (and by proxy Verizon) by rooting to do so. Which isn't the end of the world but if you remove them, without a backup, you won't be able to load upgrades.
While I am sure that Motorola was worried about supporting an altered user interaction, its pretty obvious that the locked bootloader is also an insurance for Sponsors about their software being on the phone, in order to get a couple more bucks then they would with HTC for example.
- 08-12-2010, 01:06 PM #16
- 223 Posts
I'm not really bothered by it. If I had the opportunity to remove it, I would but its really not keeping me up at night or anything. My phone is plenty fast, and I have enough storage, so I'm content with the phone as is.
With that said, I think its in Verizon's best interest to allow the consumer to decide if he wants the apps installed on the phone or not.
- 08-12-2010, 01:14 PM #17
- 08-12-2010, 01:49 PM #18
What CityID for example would be considered closest to is Foistware. Subsidized software that either is forced to be installed or installed by default.
Still wouldn't apply to Swype. Just because it wasn't created by Motorola/Google doesn't make it bloat/foist ware.
- 08-12-2010, 01:50 PM #19
- 08-12-2010, 02:02 PM #20
But you have the option of turning Swype on or off (BTW, it is disabled by default). There is NO option to disable CityID, it's always running even when the trial period expires collecting data. I don't care about apps that were installed that need to actually be "clicked on" to start. What irks me is CityID and that it's always running and there is nothing I can do about it. I can ignore the other crapware.What CityID for example would be considered closest to is Foistware. Subsidized software that either is forced to be installed or installed by default.
- 2 Posts
what is considered bloatware? anything that's not on the stock android? so would something like swype be considered bloatware?
When I buy my Dell laptop and it comes loaded with crap, I can uninstall the crap, or for that matter, reinstall the base OS and not void my warranty and still get M$ updates, right? Or is this another whole argument to start off topic here?
My point stands. Just let me uninstall the crap and don't nag me to pay for it, then let me eventually chose to stop using it, only to see its still running the background on my device. EOS.
- 08-12-2010, 07:55 PM #21
1. Root your phone.
2. Rename (dont delete) apps you dont like. i.e. CityID.apk - CityID.bak
1. Rename your bak apps back to apk
2. Reboot your phone
3. Proceed with update.
Problem solved again.
OR... Buy Launcher Pro and Hide the apps you dont like. (No root necessary)
- 08-12-2010, 08:19 PM #22
- 08-12-2010, 08:29 PM #23
- 28 Posts
As long as people keep buying this phone, Verizon will consider this experiment in bloatware to be a successful method of squeezing more money out of each phone they sell.
If you don't like the bloatware, return the phone. The only thing the CEO might conceivably notice is if sales are affected. The nonsensical response you got pretty much proves that nobody read that letter. "We'll talk to the people at Google to work on this problem"? It's a "problem" that they actively created as a source of income. That response is an insulting attempt to shine you on.
I agree that the apps are absurd (especially Blockbuster and the fact that the HDMI out is crippled to protect the copyrights on their terrible-quality 5 dollar movie rentals) but I like the phone, I'm still paying Verizon for it every month, and by doing so, I'm complicit in them screwing me over.
- 08-12-2010, 09:07 PM #24
- 12-13-2010, 05:57 AM #25
op, you are such an inspiration.
your grasp of the issues involved is truely to be noticed...are you next planning on telling the folks at wendy's that they may want to consider dropping the names off of the napkins, the soft drink cups, condiment packaging, burger wrappers, and paper bags?
heck, they may even make money by removing their own company name, and then seeing if burger king, or mcdonalds would like to buy the rights to brand these items ...
they could be thanking you large by this time next week!
get real, this is all about revenue for the company.
if you buy the phone at full retail price without the price discount of a 1 or 2 year contract, and then you may have a bit more credibility to your logic of 'i bought my phone, i want to use it as i see fit.'
do not be surprised if it starts going to that business model. vzw would really just let you buy the equipment from the manufacturers directly, and support the services between the handset and the towers.
... does vzw have an extension for you to dial for 'angry birds' support?