Samsung and Oppo sued over bloatware in China

by: Rob TriggsJuly 3, 2015
2.5K

oppo factory and office visit aa (2 of 53)

Bloatware is something that I’m sure we’re all familiar with in some form, but some manufacturers and carriers are significantly worse at filling up internal memory with useless apps than others. This problem is particularly bothersome in China and the Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission has decided to take legal action against Oppo and Samsung.

The lawsuit came about following numerous consumer complaints about unwanted apps. This case is the first of its kind filed by the consumer rights commission to be accepted by a Shanghai court.

While Samsung’s TouchWiz and apps have been broadly accused of being bloated by some, the Galaxy Note 3 (SM-N9008S) takes this to whole new level with 44 pre-installed apps in the Chinese market. The Oppo Find 7a (X9007) is an even worse offender, with 71 different programs crammed into memory by default.

“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,” – Tao Ailian, Commission Secretary-General

A study of 20 smartphones found offending apps ranging from moderately useful applications, such as a dictionary, to games and online shopping services. Some of the apps were also accused of stealing cellular data. A similar case regarding user data had been brought against Apple’s iPhone 5, but the court ruled in Apple’s favour.

We saw a similar state of affairs when we took a look at the Chinese Galaxy Note 4, which attempts to make up for the lack of pre-installed Google Services with apps such as the Baidu Search Widget and other pieces of Chinese software, most of which cannot be uninstalled from the smartphone.

Chinese Galaxy Note 4 apps

Although not as bad, we found a number of pre-loaded apps couldn’t be uninstalled with the Chinese Galaxy Note 4.

The commissions biggest complaint is that neither company informed consumers about the number of apps pre-installed on the handsets and that consumers are not offered any information on how to uninstall those which they don’t want. The legal case is seeking a ruling that would require Samsung and Oppo to label the apps on packaging and to provide instructions on how to remove said apps.

The two smartphone companies have 15 days to enter a defense, after which a trial date will be announced. Hopefully this case will reel in the amount of bloatware included with some handsets.

  • Abdullah Alam

    Hell yeah!

  • Chris Martinelli

    Good. Hopefully this will give others the idea and soon everyone everywhere that puts bloatware on any type of computing device is sued. Anything to stop the madness.

  • Siddhesh Dalvi

    Didn’t know the government can take a legal action against Bloatware on Phones! Why is every country waiting for?

    • SamG

      mass consumers are needed to lodge complaints for the government to take action

    • James Childress

      The devices are sold with specs like 16GB ram but in reality, you get 5 GB or less for the software you do want. The rest is taken up by the OS and the bloatware. It’s borderline false advertising. This is something fully in control of the manufacturers, but they won’t listen to the consumer complaints so that leaves the only recourse of govt intervention.

      • Marc bigio (Mtech)

        Hahaha you said ram ???. It’s storage not ram. If you’re going to be commenting on a tech related article, please use proper names.

        • James Childress

          Yes I I know got my terms mixed up when I originally replied to the article. I would have edited or deleted the comment to be more accurate, but Discus doesn’t allow it after a certain period of time. I had never heard of a portable phone like this having such a large amount of RAM before and thought they were referring to physical storage instead.

  • 5tifler

    71 apps. WTF!?

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  • Arman

    Well done China, maybe West can learn too!

    • toboev

      Yeah – China, the consumer’s champion. Who’da thunk it?

  • Xavier_NYC

    WTF really Oppo.. 71 Apps.. Yes, I know most will say oh just root your phone etc but most people aren’t savvy enough to do that. I know how to root but unfortunately my Note 4 is locked tighter than a Nuns as…. you get the point (AT&T user). I think users should have the right to delete any app that’s not needed on the device for it to function or just make it available in the play store for anyone that actually uses it..

    • face palm

      While they’re at it, they should sue Apple and Google too. I’m sick of seeing all the G-apps and useless Apple apps forced down our throats.

      • Xavier_NYC

        I know man. What makes it such a bad experience is that a lot of times, for android at least, these apps run in the background and drain battery life.

    • The machine

      Exactly,plus you shouldn’t have to risk rooting your €800 device just to delete these pre-installed apps,I really hope something good comes out of this,for a change.

    • Stacy B. Smith

      Or capacity advertising should be restricted to MINIMUM USABLE DISK SPACE (mabey even give it a cool acronym like MUDS) The manufacturer would have an allotted amount of empty space for updates. Instead of listing the GALAXY S4 as 16gig you would list it as MUDS 10gig (arbitrary number).

  • Lindle

    I dont mind the pre-installed apps. Some of them are useful. Just as long as you can uninstall them,,,,,,,

    • toboev

      Exactly, uninstallable. To me, bloat is any app which can not be uninstalled.

  • SamG

    i hope the whole world would sue carriers and manufacturers for bloatwares. period.

  • JG01

    All the manufactures do it. Tons of useless app to the user, but they steal your data. This benefits only the companies. You own the device, yet the carriers and manufactures are dictating that we have to take the bloatware apps we don’t need. This is BIG TIME SPYWARE !! and no one was doing anything about it until now. If they placed the apps on the devices and allowed us to remove them…completely, or change their startup mode from automatic at boot, to manual, this would be much better.

    • toboev

      Actually, I struggle to see how even the perpetrators of the bloat stand to benefit. Those users who would use the apps will do so regardless of them being uninstallable, and the rest of us will not – but will count it against the perpetrators, at a cost to goodwill. So where is the gain from being uninstallable?

  • Anton Toni Agung

    welcome to the jungle

  • reasonable

    And to add insult to injury, most of the bloat apps are completely useless.

  • Patrick Smithopolis

    Someone should sue ASUS. It’s ridiculous the amount of bloatware on the Zenfone 2. Most of them can’t be uninstalled and some can’t even be disabled.

  • abazigal

    How does one define bloatware anyways?

    I mean, people have argued that Apple is installing bloatware as well simply because they don’t use the preinstalled apps like Health and Newstand. Heck, if I am using a 3rd party email app on my iphone, does that technically make the stock mail app bloatware as well? Are we really viewing this in the same light as Android OEMs who often tack their own duplicate apps on top of existing Google apps?

    And what about carriers who slap on their own apps and services as well? How come they are not getting any flak for contributing to the “bloatware” issue? Because they aren’t foreign companies and China doesn’t want to “target their own”?

    • toboev

      Easy to define bloat: pre-installed apps not necessary to the functioning of the OS that you can not uninstall.

  • James Childress

    I have the same issue with my Samsung Galaxy Tab S….the latest update with the uninstallable bloatware left very little space for the software I wanted on my device. I found myself being forced to uninstall software just to get the Lollipop update to install. This wouldn’t be an issue if we didn’t have such limited options as to how much base memory they sell the devices with and android having removed the option to install software on microSD cards.

  • jbelkin

    Not many useless apps on IOS. I don’t use game center but that’s pretty much it.

    • toboev

      It is not about utility, it is about choice. We should have the choice to uninstall them.

    • toboev

      It’s not about ‘useless’, it’s about whether you can uninstall them if you choose to.

  • nonotz

    im living in china and bought LG g3 d857 but theres only a few preinstalled app in it and I can just uninstall them normally , so im amazed by those number … (44 and 71 )

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  • Marty

    Glad to see this suit against Samsung. They should be sued everywhere in the world for lying their asses off about “uninstallable” carrier and OEM apps on the GS6, which were not uninstallable.

  • Kula

    On the Oppo though, almost all the preinstalled apps are uninstable , thanks Oppo

  • Marc bigio (Mtech)

    Wait, my iPhone 6s Plus comes with 41 pre installed apps, a few were uninstallable like he iLife apps. So there were more like 45. So shouldn’t Apple be sued also? Does the United States have one of these organizations?