Bloatware Lawsuit : Consumer rights group files complaint against Oppo and Samsung in China

We all know that smartphone manufacturers make a load of money pre-installing Apps and Games for which developers and publishers pay them. This pre-installed apps and games which are called bloatware, are a headache for the smartphone buyers. They cant be uninstalled through normal uninstall mechanisms, they fill up precious memory, smartphone buyers never use such pre-installed apps and on a more serious note, these are often found to malware reporting the smartphone buyers choice and preference back to some shady command and control server.

Now a Chinese consumer rights group has said enough is enough and filed a lawsuit against smartphone manufacturers Samsung and Oppo.  The lawsuit was filed by Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission on Thursday against Samsung and Oppo, two of the biggest smartphone sellers in China, over their practice of pre-installing apps on their smartphones.

The lawsuit alleges that several smartphone models sold by both companies came with pre-installed apps that the consumers could not remove, and which, in some cases also “stole” cellular data.

At the center of the lawsuit are two smartphones, one manufactured by Samsung, SM-N9008S and the other by Oppo, X9007. According to the SCRPC, these two smartphone carry a lot of bloatware, 44 in Oppo and 71 in Samsung

Shanghai Daily reported that Tao Ailian, secretary-general of the commission, told it that the group filed the public interest lawsuits after investigating complaints from the public.

According to the lawsuit, the SCRPC is seeking a ruling from the court, which would require smartphone manufacturers to clearly state on the product’s packaging what apps have been installed, and give consumers instructions on how to remove unwanted software. It also wants to compel the companies to inform consumers about the amount of memory that pre-installed apps take up.

The bloatware issue has become a serious concern for smartphone buyers with the Shenzen Consumer Council called on smartphone manufacturers to allow consumers to remove pre-installed apps from their phones last year. It had also urged China’s Ministry of Information Technology to regulate the practice.

The bloatware issue has been a subject of litigation elsewhere too. In United States, a federal judge in California dismissed a case against Google this February. The lawsuit claimed that Google had monopolistic ties to smartphone manufacturers that used its Android operating system so that Google apps were used as default on their products.

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