Bloatware also known as Junkware, Shovelware or Crapware is the junk that the major computer manufacturers add to your new computer making it horribly bogged down. From Daily Mail, Bloatware can "account for up to 45% of pre-installed software on a new device." That's a lot of software you don't need and likely don't want coming pre-installed on your new computer.
It may seem helpful that Norton or McAfee comes pre-installed on your new computer; it's good enough right? Since you definitely need an anti-virus program running on your computer, why not this one? The reality is that Norton or McAfee came pre-installed because the company paid the manufacturer to have their software pre-installed and now that you have that trial version you're likely going to pay them for the full version and then renew year after year now that it's there. Is Norton or McAfee really the best anti-virus program out there? Definitely not, but that's a different discussion, the point here is by paying to be pre-installed your now a captive audience who likely doesn't look any farther in the purchase of your anti-virus software.
Other programs often considered Bloatware include - Netflix, YouTube, browser toolbars (so many browser toolbars), outside DVD creation software, WildTangent games, visual discovery tools, Ebay OEM install, the list goes on and on and varies between manufacturer.
This issue really found it's way into the news earlier this year when it was discovered that some of Lenovo's computers were being sold not only with Bloatware but with the Adware, Superfish, preloaded on it. From Brad Chacos as PC World, Superfish "compromised secure HTTPS web connections in a quest to inject ads on the sites you visit...and make Lenovo a few nickels." (emphasis added)
There it is in a nutshell from PC World, "Bloatware subsidizes PC prices." The whole reason Bloatware finds it's way onto the new computer you just purchased, to make money for the manufacturers and depending on the retailer they might offer a paid service to remove the Bloatware from your new computer. Software companies pay to have their software pre-installed, which in turn allows the manufacturers to price their PCs for less than what the components actually cost. Did you really get a great deal on that computer now knowing that it's come full of junk programs installed, not programs you need, but programs that take up hard drive space and resources, slowing down your brand new PC?
Michael Horowitz's take on Bloatware, "In the old days, pre-installed software was a performance issue, then it became merely an annoyance. Now, however, it's been elevated to a security risk."
What can you do to avoid all of this mess? Buy from a manufacturer that does not install Bloatware onto their systems. When someone comes to Top Speed Computer Service to purchase a new computer, one of the first things well tell them is we're not going to compete with the big box stores, and part of the reason for that is they are not being paid on the back end to install junk and never will be.