If you or a family member receive a Dell PC as a gift this Christmas, you may be in for a surprise, if it becomes infected with spyware.
Dell has instituted what has to be the most misguided tech support policy I have ever seen. Not only will Dell refuse to tell you how to remove the spyware, they won't even refer you to web sites that can help.
Why does Dell do this? Dell cites the possibility that removing spyware might violate user agreements between the user and some other company. The following is an email sent to Dell tech support persons announcing the new policy:
Subject: Spyware: What we can say to the customer
Dell does not support or endorse the use of spyware removal programs.
NOTICE: Use of spyware removal software may conflict with user license agreements of other applications installed on your system. Please consult your user license agreements for further information. Dell does not endorse the use of spyware removal software and cannot provide support on these products.
This means we do not take callers to download.com or doxdesk.com, nor do we recommend spyware removal programs, nor do we advise callers on the use of spyware removal programs. This includes using phrases "We don't support the removal of spyware, but I use..."
Please reply to this e-mail to indicate that you have read and understand this information.
This is bull. Doesn't Dell realize that the majority of spyware and other parasites now are classified as viruses? Does Dell really care more about the writers of spyware and viruses than they do about their own paying customers?
It is perfectly understandable that Dell does not want to provide manual spyware removal instructions over the telephone. It's hard enough doing it on message boards where you have access to log files and specialized removal tools. However, to withhold the addresses of web sites that can help is callous and irresponsible. All they have to do is refer them to doxdesk.com, cexx.org, or to my site and let the experts handle it.
Several of us in the antispyware/antivirus community have signed an open letter to Dell Inc. asking them to retract this foolish and misguided policy. That letter is located at http://www.spywareinfo.com/articles/dell/support_letter.php. Consider that a press release and feel free to post the entire letter anywhere you please. People need to hear about this rubbish.
More from Slashdot here - follow the comments for some major Dell-bashing.