Samsung sued over pre-installed bloatware

Samsung is being sued over the amount of bloatware that comes pre-installed on its handsets.

Consumers have long bemoaned the amount of apps that come already loaded onto smartphones, the majority of which cannot be easily uninstalled.

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Now, a Chinese consumer rights group, the Shanghai Consumer Council, is taking the South Korean firm to court following a raft of complaints. A similar case has also been launched against Chinese smartphone manufacturer Oppo.

“The litigation is our latest attempt to safeguard consumers’ rights after other methods failed,” said the council’s secretary general Tao Ailian. “We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers. This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry.”

Before filing the lawsuit, the council carried out a study into the amount of so-called bloatware included on modern handsets. It found that two of the worst offenders were the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which contained up to 44 pre-installed apps and the Oppo X9007, which had as many as 71 programs which were difficult or impossible to remove.

The lawsuit does not have a problem with pre-installed apps per se, but wants manufacturers to allow consumers to remove them more easily. The council also believes that consumers should be made aware of bloatware before purchases have been made.

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Currently, the only way to remove some pre-installed apps on Android phones is to gain root access, but this is not a straightforward process and usually voids the manufacturer’s warranty. Samsung has not yet received the formal complaint from the Shanghai Consumer Council so declined to comment on the situation.