This article is more than 1 year old

Samsung, Oppo collared in smartphone bloatware probe

If this case is won, let's all move to China

Smartphone makers Samsung and Oppo face legal action in China over handsets apparently stuffed with bloatware.

Plenty of folk in the People's Republic have moaned to regulators about pre-installed software on their phones, prompting Shanghai's Consumer Council to act.

The country's Consumers' Association said in a statement on its website (Chinese via Google translate):

Given the behaviour of mobile phone manufacturers against the legitimate rights and interests of many consumers, it is necessary to correct such unreasonable manner[s] through public interest litigation.

Shanghai's Consumer Rights Protection Commission said it had swung into action after it carried out a study of some 20 smartphones to determine which models came stuffed with the most pre-installed apps.

It found that Samsung's SM-N9008S (Galaxy Note 3) and Oppo's X9007 (Find 7a) mobes were two of the worst on the market, with 44 and 71 apps respectively loaded on to the handsets.

The regulator said it hoped to win landmark public interest cases against bloatware being stealthily loaded onto smartphones prior to a consumer's purchase of the products.

Shanghai Daily quoted the commission's secretary-general Tao Ailian, who reportedly said:

"The litigation is our latest attempt to safeguard consumers’ rights after other methods failed."

He added:

“We hope it will force other companies in the sector to end the unreasonable, but common, practice of pre-installing apps without telling consumers. This is something that is very much necessary for the healthy development of the whole industry.”

Samsung and Oppo have 15 days to respond to the litigation. Sammy told the BBC that the firm hadn't yet received the formal complaint from the council.

"We will thoroughly review the court document and determine an appropriate response," it said.

Oppo could not be reached for comment at time of publication. ®

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