"Prefer" is a higher bar than "don't care" / "not a nuisance".
I don't know what IM installs - but I see Norton on their webpage. I can easily see "most end-users" installing something, seeing the opportunity to install Norton Anti-Virus, and thinking to themselves "oh yea, that sounds like that'd be useful".
Just about everybody on HN is extremely technically savvy - we can't assume that our computing preferences are shared by "most end-users". Note that I am just responding to the assertion that "it['s] hard to believe that [PG] truly think[s] it is anything but a nuisance to end-users".
Of what value to users can be a piece of software that they never heard of, don't know what it does and don't feel a need for it? Were they having a problem they wanted solved, they'd intentionally look for the software.
> we can't assume that our computing preferences are shared by "most end-users".
Those are still anecdotes, but I think most of us actually can say this or that about end-users preferences, after countless of hours spent on cleaning their computers. I for one think that calling it "nuisance" is a massive understatement.
if you ask these non-technical end users whether they rather have the free software that comes with some crapware, or have to purchase a paid version (of the same software), i think you would find most would choose the free version.
While i dislike the idea of crapware, if it funds useful pieces of software, perhaps its a nuisance that could be tolerated.
Norton is not a current advertiser (neither is Bing or Real), assuming Withinrafael is correct about how the Offer Screens are gathered. See his post about how to download & view the offer screens here: