What is it with printer manufacturers?

I recently purchased a new printer (A Canon Pixma MG3150, if you’re curious; I’ll probably write more about that when I’ve had it a little while – but first impressions are good).

Now, since I print stuff very rarely, but needed it in a hurry, this isn’t a particularly high end unit. The purchase was based more on price and next-day availabilty than anything else. So it was cheap. That’s ok – and I’m happy with the printer itself (everything works, the print quality is farily good, etc, etc).

But that’s not why I’m writing this; I’m writing this because of one of my long-standing complaints about printers – or rather, the software that comes bundled with them.

WHY do the manufacturers seem to think it’s important to bundle huge amounts of software I’ll never use with their products – and then force me to install all of it just so I can print a page of text?

You know the kind of thing – photo album managers (if it was a camera, then maybe..), web page clippers (no, that’s what I have a web browser for). I just don’t get it.

And, of course, the quality of this software is generally pretty so-so. For the most part, it has a flashy (and, usually, a horribly non-standard and terribly UNintuitive user interface) -and for what? It doesn’t encourage me to buy their product. (I didn’t even know it was all in there until the box arrived) – and it seems to take aeons to install. Of course, the (un)installers are usually badly broken – so it scatters itself all over my machine in a most insidious way. (No doubt there will be remnants of it on my Windoze box until I reinstall the OS; I’m not letting it anywhere near my Mac).

If I want to mange my photos, I’ll use iPhoto. If I want to edit them, I’ll use The Gimp. If I want to clip webpages, I’ll use Chromium. I have plenty of good options for all of that kind of thing. What I don’t (for the most part) have options for is where to source my printer drivers.

No, I’d MUCH rather manufacturers spent the time, effort and money the spent on developing this junk on writing really high quality drivers for their products – and leave all the ancillary stuff to groups who specialise in that kind of thing.



Yes, I’m aware that the manufacturers generally don’t write all this bundled bloatware themselves – they more than likely licence it from some body shop somewhere that’s never even seen the printer. I just wonder why they do that.

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