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I'm fed up with these hardware vendors incessantly messing with software. Why doesn't Microsoft tighten up its OEM licensing terms to put an end to this kind of thing?

Because the US and EU have repeatedly told Microsoft that they're not allowed to force OEMs to use their software.

I'm not sure this applies. "You're not allowed to disable updates" is not even close to "You cannot install any browser other than IE".

I'm not sure Microsoft wants to gamble $1 billion that "You have to use Microsoft's updater" is different than "you have to include Windows Media Player".

A little anti-trust action against you by the government will do that. Though it may not have been solely consumer friendly in the past, strongarming OEMs to avoid these kinds of messes was one of the things that got them in trouble 15 years ago.

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