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Samsung and OPPO sued over bloatware in China

The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission has decided to take legal action against OPPO and Samsung following complaints about unwanted apps.

Published onJuly 3, 2015

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.