REDMOND, Wash. — June 2, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that it has won a key distribution deal with HP, the world’s largest PC manufacturer, to install a Live Search-enabled toolbar on all HP consumer PCs planned to ship in the United States and Canada, beginning in January 2009. As part of this deal, the default search engine setting in the browser on all HP consumer PCs will also be set to Microsoft Live Search.

OK, fair enough. Microsoft give HP money, HP put Microsoft's toolbar on their computers and set the default search engine to Live Search.

Paul Thurrott however asks us:

[I]s this ironic? Hypocritical? Or just pathetic?

I think its all three.

OK, sure he's got a point. Computer manufacturers should stop bundling junkware with computers, and yes Microsoft employees have hinted that they're not too pleased with how much junk is installed, and that it is damaging the user's feelings towards Windows, despite not being anything to do with Microsoft or Windows. Obviously they can't stop computer manufacturers from doing this, especially with their past legal record.

To solve this, you need a customer revolt. So the money that the computer manufacturers get out of these deals isn't worth the damage done to their sales from bundling all this junk. The trouble is for Joe Public, there's no way to tell before hand, and if there is the junkware is sold as a feature (without mentioning the negative side-effects) as such market forces don't act against the problem. So despite technology enthusiasts going on about it for years, no progress is being made.

If Microsoft hadn't done this deal what would be on the computer instead? The Yahoo or Google Toolbar, with their search engines as the default.

End result? No change for the end user on the amount of junk installed on the computer.

In short, I think it stinks. The Windows Live Search toolbar—like Windows Live Search itself--should succeed or fail on its own.

I think Google should be allowed to succeed or fail on its own. We all know its not going to happen because Google start throwing money at computer manufacturers to install their junkware, when was the last time anybody brought a computer that wasn't covered in Google junkware, or had the browser search set to Google?

Microsoft shareholders aren't going to be happy if the company just sits back and watch as every computer sold has Google's search engine on it, its called business. It isn't nice, but its all we've got (for now).