Apple Making a Habit of "Shovelware?"
image via ZDNet
Apple's Software Update utility has been installing an enterprise iPhone profile management tool on Windows PCs that had accepted the default update suggestions, even if the users had never used an iPhone. Although Apple pulled the utility from the default list later Monday, some observers raised objections
about Apple's seeming propensity to push unnecessary software on Windows users.
Users of Apple Software Update for Windows who accepted the suggested updates found the iPhone Configuration Utility - including an Apache web server - was installed onto their PCs Monday. The utility - as UK blogger Simon Bisson of itexpertmag.com noted in a Twitter update
later that day - is actually an enterprise-grade tool for network administrators, who use it to create and deploy device profiles so users can securely connect to a company's Exchange mail servers.
This is not the first time Apple has been caught red-handed shoveling unnecessary software to Windows users of Apple Software Update, nor the first time they quietly removed the update without comment or explanation. In early 2008, users who had installed iTunes on their systems got Safari as a default update, even if they had never installed the Apple web browser. After the ensuing uproar, Apple changed the Updates list so that the browser was no longer included as a default.
Similarly, Apple removed the iPhone Configuration Utility from the default list by midday on the East Coast yesterday, but did not make any statement as to why the enterprise utility had been placed on the list in the first place.
Some [ame="http://www.hardforum.com/showpost.php?p=1034678056&postcount=21"]observers[/ame] suggested the common-sense expedient of uninstalling Apple Software Update if they had a concern, or, similarly, checking the Updates list before clicking the Install button, and deselecting any unwanted items. However, the great majority of users may not be so cautious, and benefit from the ease of use of the Software Update tool. Apple risks alienating many users by forcing unwanted software on them, either by accident or by design.