I want to be clear here – I have the utmost respect for Ed Bott and I consider him to be one of the best authors around writing about Microsoft Windows. I have his great book for Vista and will be getting his soon to be published tome on Windows 7. However sometimes I think he gets just a little too picky over some of the things Apple does.
Case in point is his post today about Apple’s Software Update and how he thinks that they are using it to push their software on to people without permission. Now as he tells it the only reason he even see the program is because he installed Bootcamp on his Mac Mini so he could use Windows 7 on it. So when he launched Windows 7 this morning he was faced with the Apple Software Update dialog telling him that there is new software available from Apple – just as you see here:
Ed points out in his post:
Under the Updates heading, Apple says I need the iPhone Configuration Utility. Oh really? Why, for heaven’s sake? I’ve never plugged an iPhone (or an iPod or any other Apple-branded hardware) into this computer. I have absolutely no need for this program. It will do nothing except take up disk space and memory and potentially represent a vector for security issues.
And yet Apple is telling me, for some reason, that I need to install this “update.”
They’ve also conveniently selected some additional software for me in the form of QuickTime and iTunes, which is 137.5 MB of compressed installers that expands to well over 200MB of disk space when installed. If I click the Install button, all of a sudden I have a pile of software I don’t want or need, including the Bonjour network service.
Granted in the past Apple got a lot of flack for automatically enabling all the items in the update dialog (and it looks like they haven’t learned anything from that little firestorm) but other than the auto enabled items in the list I’m sorry Ed but I think you’re getting a little carried away here.
I have no problem with any software maker – operating system or otherwise – letting me know that updates are available. In the case of companies like Microsoft, even though they would get smacked hard if they did something like this, or Apple letting me know that they have new products available.
Where they went wrong in my opinion was by auto-enabling things like the iPhone Configuration Utility, Quicktime, and iTunes. Given the typical habit of computer users to just click okay this could see unwanted software being installed. I can understand what Ed is suggesting when he says
A program called Apple Software Update should do what it says andupdate Apple software. It shouldn’t push new programs on users. Not without getting their consent first.
However how is the utility suppose to get your consent if it doesn’t run in the first place. Perhaps the problem here is really one of wording. Would it make a difference Ed if it was called “Software Notification Service”?
Perhaps Ed it’s time for a coffee break and maybe an apple strudel?