Published May 16, 2012
Tired of bloatware slowing down the PCs you buy? You've probably never heard of it, but an offering from Microsoft (MSFT) could save you a lot of time and frustration.
A Microsoft Signature PC is not a new product, but it's a service that's practically unknown, according to Wall Street Journal personal technology columnist Walt Mossberg. Microsoft's Signature PCs are engineered to provide users with a cleaner, faster experience on their Windows computers, he said in his weekly All Things Digital segment on FOX Business.
No, Microsoft hasn’t broken into the computer manufacturing business; these computers are all made by companies like H-P (HPQ), Dell (DELL), Samsung, and Acer. But it's not what's in these computers that give them the Signature label; it's what's not in them, namely bloatware.
For years, senior employees at Microsoft have been upset with manufacturers because they tend not to present Windows in the best light, Mossberg explained. They often clutter the desktop with bloatware, or what Mossberg likes to call 'craplets': all kinds of icons for things you may not want or need, duplicates of utilities Windows already provides, and even some advertisements. The end result is that this can bog down the computer, he said.
Microsoft has set up a chain of 16 stores, mostly on the West Coast (hence why many in other areas of the country are unaware of the service), that are somewhat like Apple (AAPL) stores, Mossberg said. They sell a wide variety of PCs from the major companies, but Microsoft engineers have modified the software on them, giving them a clean desktop and start menu, tweaking settings for easier navigation, removing duplicate programs, and increasing the speed.
How much more do these stripped-down, sped-up machines cost? Zero dollars more, according to Mossberg. They go for about the same price they would cost at Best Buy (BBY), for example, he said.
If you already have a Windows 7 machine, but want to give it the Signature treatment, you can bring it into a Microsoft store, where the same tweaks will be made to it for $99, he said