It’s no secret that advertisement is the key to monetizing computer products, but certain strategies have been deemed unethical by the Federal Trade Commission. Recently under fire for violating these conditions is Lenovo.
It turns out that thousands of consumers who wanted nothing more than a budget laptop ended up getting more than they bargained for.
Who is Lenovo?
Lenovo, a China-based computer hardware company, received a punishment from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for pre-installing Superfish’s VisualDiscovery ad software on a range of their computer products.
This punishment is one of the first to set a precedent regarding adware–and, while the fine is a mere slap on the wrist when compared to the company’s bottom line, it’s a line in the sand that manufacturers must now obey.
New FTC Regulations on Computer Manufacturers
Although the Trade Commission is not going to prevent computer manufacturers from selling computers that inject advertisements into various webpages, they are requiring that these manufacturers inform their customers of this
The FTC says that these regulations are designed to prevent companies from misrepresenting the features of their software–especially any software that comes preloaded on a laptop or PC.
The commission has also decided that the agreement to install software like the ones described must be “hard to miss”–customers must be aware of the type of software they are installing on their computers.
Lenovo’s Response, and What This Means for the Future
As reported on the technology news site Ars Technica, Lenovo’s team has been adamant in opposing these allegations, alleging no wrongdoing on their part. They claim to have stopped pre-installing this software on their computers as soon as they received complaints.
For many computer manufactuers–especially those who aim to put out a budget-friendly product–these new FTC regulations may mean a new way of optimizing profits while still producing a high-quality product that consumers will respond to.
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