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Windows Signature Experience: it's just windows sans the crapware (windowsteamblog.com)
18 points by samiq 1293 days ago | comments


pilif 1293 days ago | link

Did I understand this correctly? When you buy any PC with crapware on it at $discounter, you can go to that Microsoft store, buy another, possibly non-upgrade, license of Windows and they install that?

So in turn, MS gets to sell two licenses (the oem and the end-user one), the crapware vendor gets paid for installing the crapware and the consumer gets a clean windows installation for more than twice the price. Awesome deal. Yes.

I know why I stopped using Windows machines

Edit: also, it's debatable whether Acrobat Reader doesn't also qualify as crapware, when you consider it's recent security history and the fact that there are alternatives around (which, unfortunately, isn't true for flash player)

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verroq 1293 days ago | link

I would just like to say alternatives for Acrobat Reader are generally crap and can barely display the page correctly, not to mention print.

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borisk 1293 days ago | link

You can get a refund for an unused OEM licence.

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acqq 1293 days ago | link

Still absurd. The steps apparently:

1) Buy the computer which includes the price of the OEM license (and with the version which also doesn't ask you for the license key)

2) Try to get the money back for the OEM license (edit: AFAIK you can do this only if you never try to use the computer until that point).

3) Carry the computer to the Windows Store

4) Buy there the more expensive license, with which you have to type in the license key whenever you do a reinstall (well, of course, why not paying more to have it harder to use).

5) Let the MS store guys "apply the Signature configuration to it."

6) Whenever you want to reinstall your dearly paid Windows (in money and the time spent), go to step 3) (carrying your whole computer!) convince the guys there you did the step 4) and that you don't want to do it again to make them do the step 5)

And they actually have the nerve to write: "Microsoft Signature Upgrade: It’s a great way to make your PC experience even better."

Brought to you by the company that gave you Windows Vista.

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pilif 1293 days ago | link

    > 4) Buy there the more expensive license, 
    > with which you have to type in the license 
    > key whenever you do a reinstall (well, of 
    > course, why not paying more to have it 
    > harder to use).
it'll be MUCH more expensive. The list price of non-oem non-upgrade Windows 7 Home Premium is $199.99 as opposed to the OEM version which is ~$90 if you buy it on the web.

I would assume that the hardware vendors get better prices from MS, say, $70, but what they are going to refund you is more like $30 or something.

So even if (and that's a huge if) you can get your OEM license refunded, you still have to pay a huge premium to get that clean installation.

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borisk 1293 days ago | link

Normally you'd just buy the PC at Microsoft Store. You probably don't have to to go back for reinstall, there will be a restore DVD or partition.

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acqq 1293 days ago | link

We are talking here about the "Microsoft Signature Upgrade" -- not the "Microsoft Signature on any PC purchased from the Microsoft Store." Check the main article again.

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snprbob86 1293 days ago | link

I must admit, this is pretty shitty. However, as a former Microsoftie, it makes a sense to me.

Allow me to explain: YOU ARE NOT MICROSOFT'S CUSTOMER. OEMs are. Enterprises are. This is a serious financial advantage for Microsoft.

That said... YOU ARE APPLE'S CUSTOMER. And this is a serious competitive disadvantage for Microsoft.

That said... MICROSOFT WANTS TO BE IN THE CONSUMER MARKET. They have to be to compete with Apple long term.

So the way I see this is that Microsoft is opening their own retail stores and they are going to essentially be yet another OEM. They are going to compete with the likes of Dell on merit of quality. This "signature team" is the team responsible for setting that quality bar.

In true Microsoft fashion, "Windows Signature" is an internal name that is leaking externally. In this case, it appears to be intentionally. It seems like an odd choice because no one talks about "Windows Dell", why should Microsoft have a name for this? It's just plain silly, but I digress.

Since Microsoft doesn't need to pay for Windows licenses, they will have higher margins and will be able to muscle around the OEMs who depend on crapware for profits. If Microsoft simply started forcing rules down the throats of OEMs, the OEMs would retaliate by distributing Linux more widely, so it is wise for Microsoft to push a caliber of desktop experience that Linux can't quite deliver yet for the average user.

tldr: This is Microsoft changing OEM behavior passive aggressively.

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derefr 1293 days ago | link

> It seems like an odd choice because no one talks about "Windows Dell", why should Microsoft have a name for this?

I think that's the point—they're making the market think about a point of differentiation that they weren't before, and so they want to give it a name. "If you buy your PC at [random shop], will you still be getting the Windows Signature Experience?"

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snprbob86 1293 days ago | link

I can see that reasoning, but I probably frame it as "If you buy directly from us, we're give you the Microsoft Bonus Stuff Pack which is much better than the Dell Crapware Pack".

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metamemetics 1293 days ago | link

Well last time Microsoft tried to improve consumer experience (by including one of those new-fangled web browsers out of the box) they DID get sued by the US Government.

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snprbob86 1293 days ago | link

But this time, they've got entire departments dedicated to ensuring they follow all the rules :-/

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mhw 1293 days ago | link

"If you live near a store, you can bring in any Windows 7 compatible PC and the Store techs will do a clean install of Windows 7 (you’ll need to buy a full retail copy, of course), migrate all of your data, and then apply the Signature configuration to it (i.e., set it up almost exactly like a Microsoft Store-bought PC).  It’s a great way to make your PC experience even better."

Of course! It makes perfect sense that I'd need to pay for Windows twice, once for each time it's been installed. How reasonable of you, Microsoft. Obviously, the crap that got pre-installed on my first copy of Windows was stuff I actually asked for, and not an inevitable result of your business model.

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megablast 1293 days ago | link

It is funny, Microsoft people are quite willing to chat on the net about all the great stuff they are doing, but as soon as someone points out something incredibly stupid that they are doing, they all disappear.

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Elepsis 1293 days ago | link

Apparently gratuitous editorial spin in the titles is okay as long as it has to do with Microsoft?

In any case, people are focusing on a minor detail rather than the interesting piece of this: The point is, when you buy from the Microsoft Store, you can get that's set up to have a "best-effort" configuration of Windows--one where the choices of what to install and what not install are made from the perspective of making the customer experience great, not based on who paid the most money.

If you want the same thing done to a PC purchased elsewhere, perhaps you have to buy a copy of Windows (I work for MS but I have no idea whether that is the case or not). On the other hand, all of this setup/optimization is free, so it's quite likely cheaper to pay for Windows a second time than to pay, say, Geek Squad for their questionable "PC optimization service."

If the store just said "come in and get your PC optimized for $99" I'm sure no one would have an issue with it.

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samiq 1293 days ago | link

point is microsoft is supposed to be doing a certification process already which as far as I remember was to certify that the experience was guarantee... so base on this news, that certification sticker is just full of crap and now I need a geek squad or microsoft itself to tune it up to be the best experience.

seriously, if microsoft did their quality process the way it should be there should not be a need for "pc optimization services" or this such "signature experience" of any kind.

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wmf 1293 days ago | link

Wow, Microsoft is telling people who already have Windows to buy a full retail copy of Windows 7 just to get rid of crapware?

Maybe there's money to be made by rebranding CyanogenMod as "Android Signature" (now in vanilla froyo flavor)...

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mikeknoop 1293 days ago | link

"If you live near a store, you can bring in any Windows 7 compatible PC and the Store techs will do a clean install of Windows 7 (you’ll need to buy a full retail copy, of course), migrate all of your data,"

This reads to me like you can either upgrade to Windows 7 or they will reinstall a clean image with your current license key...

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franksalim 1293 days ago | link

Your current license key is usually for an OEM version and not a "full retail copy." I understand this as meaning you will have to purchase Windows 7 again if it came pre-installed on your PC.

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Raphael_Amiard 1293 days ago | link

I don't need anybody to install me Internet Explorer 8 and Adobe Acrobat, especially when i'm gonna install Chrome and Sumatra instead. But other people posting here are right: You shouldn't be paying for that kind of stuff. It should be basic service.

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samiq 1293 days ago | link

paying microsoft extra for the experience I'd have got from the beginning is shocking... microsoft should focus more on getting OEMs stop this crapware fair and instead provide a great experience for their end users.

anyway, this a response from someone at Microsoft from a twitter conversation that started from this same link:

@xpaulbettsx: @timheuer @shanselman @samiq we are working to do this via perf requirements - slow down the OS, get penalized

http://twitter.com/#!/xpaulbettsx/status/26334503491

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vdm 1293 days ago | link

Microsoft have created a situation where OEMs margin is coming from that crapware. The incentives are way off and the end user is the big loser.

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gizmomagico 1293 days ago | link

we are working to do this via perf requirements - slow down the OS, get penalized

In other words: "Code your crapware better" ?

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huhtenberg 1293 days ago | link

Silverlight video, huh? I think this calls for a poll - http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1754755

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hendler 1293 days ago | link

Didn't quite understand Signature Experience (and I didn't want to install silverlight). Does anyone here use it?

Completely off topic and half-joking; but was it a joke to call it "window-steam-blog" or should I only see "windows-team-blog"?

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AHylianHuman 1292 days ago | link

If you live near a store, you can bring in any Windows 7 compatible PC and the Store techs will do a clean install of Windows 7 (NOTE: If your PC already has WIndows 7 on it, you're good to go - no new license is required!

Meaning, if you bought a Windows 7 computer somewhere else (with crapware, etc.) you don't have to buy a new license--they just clean off the crapware for you and install their stuff.

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