Apple's recent misadventures with loading its software onto users' machines without their knowledge has Microsoft partners grumbling about the existence of a double standard when it comes to how the marketplace views the two companies. Earlier this month, Steve Clayton, a Microsoft engineer, noticed that Apple had packaged MobileMe software in its most recent iTunes 7.7 update when a 'MobileMe Preferences' icon mysteriously appeared in his Windows control panel, even though he hadn't signed up for the service.
In April, many Windows users complained that Apple was quietly loading its Safari Web browser onto their PCs without their permission through its Software Update service, as well as through the Windows versions of iTunes and Quicktime. The controversy caused Apple to alter the service to give users more visibility into what they're downloading. It's an old debate, but Microsoft partners feel it's more valid than ever in light of Apple's ongoing attempts to paint itself as a progressive purveyor of technological goodness, and Microsoft as a plodding, nerdy behemoth incapable of getting out of its own way.
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