Bundled software

Bundled software

Bundled software, commonly known as software bundles or bundleware, is the practice of including several related games or other software into a single package. Poor quality software bundles are usually referred to in a derogatory manner as shovelware.

Bundled software usually tends to be older software titles being resold to maximize profits for those particular games, sometimes to remainder inventory. Other software is bundled to allow users to have the game and all of its expansions, such as Blizzard Software's "Battle Chest" series for such games as Diablo II, Starcraft and the Warcraft series.

Pre-installed "bundleware"

"Bundleware" can also refer to poor quality software included with the purchase of a new computer by the computer's manufacturer, allowing the manufacturer to claim that the system was "complete" and "ready to use" with minimal additional cost. It is difficult to quantify how widespread the practice is or was, mainly because determining the worth of a software package is highly subjective, but usage of the word "bundleware" in this context was at its peak in the late 1990s. Often, such "bundled" software would be difficult or impossible to remove, and/or lack separate installation media, making repair of a damaged installation impossible without reinstalling the entire operating system.

Pre-installed "bundleware" is often used as a promotional device, wherein the software distributors offset some of the cost of the PC, thereby bringing the retail price down. This "bundleware" may include pre-installed programs for ISP service subscriptions such as AOL, and trialware of various applications.


New computers often come bundled with software which the manufacturer was paid to include but is of dubious value to the purchaser. Craplet, a portmanteau of crap and applet, is a derogatory term used to refer these unwanted, preinstalled software and advertisements. In January 2007, an unnamed executive spokesman for Microsoft expressed concern that the Windows Vista launch might be damaged by poorly designed, uncertified third-party applications installed by vendors — "We call them craplets." He stated that the antitrust case against Microsoft prevented the company from stopping the preinstallation of these programs by OEMs. Walter Mossberg, technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal, condemned "craplets" in two columns published in April 2007, and suggested several possible strategies for removing them. According to Ars Technica, most craplets are installed by OEMs who receive payment from the authors of the software. At the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, Dell defended this practice, stating that it keeps costs down, and implying that systems might cost significantly more to the end user if these programs were not preinstalled.


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