Apple is telling iTunes and QuickTime users on Windows that they need to download the iPhone Configuration Utility, an enterprise tool that is useless for most consumers, via its Apple Software Update program for Windows.
Apple is once again using its updating program that comes with iTunes and QuickTime on Windows to push unwanted software. This time around, the software in question is an iPhone enterprise tool that is more than useless for most consumers. ZDNet spotted the update, though when we asked around we learned it was actually pushed out earlier this month. Nevertheless, we downloaded iTunes and installed it on a Windows 7 machine to see if we could reproduce the annoyance. We could. Apple is, for whatever reason, pushing enterprise software to Windows PC users who use Apple software.
Here's the description Apple gives for the iPhone Configuration Utility:
Configuration Utility lets you easily create, maintain, encrypt, and install configuration profiles, track and install provisioning profiles and authorized applications, and capture device information including console logs.
Configuration profiles are XML files that contain device security policies, VPN configuration information, Wi-Fi settings, APN settings, Exchange account settings, mail settings, and certificates that permit iPhone and iPod touch to work with your enterprise systems. For instructions on how to use iPhone Configuration Utility, see the iPhone and iPod touch Enterprise Deployment Guide, available for downloading at http://www.apple.com/support/iphone/enterprise/
Not only is this irrelevant to many iTunes users, since most of them don't even have an iPhone, it's cleary an enterprise tool that even the majority of iPhone users don't need or want. This "update" should not be checked by default, and instead should be clearly marked as optional. To go even further, though, an update utility should not be prompting to install new software. This is a new program that Apple Software Update is pushing to users, and not an update for a program or programs the user already has installed. If Apple finds it necessary to include its update tool to anyone who installs iTunes or QuickTime, the company should make sure it only offers updates for installed software, and not push out new software whenever it feels like it.
Apple has been called out in the past for using its updater to push unwanted applications out to Windows users, but it looks like the bad press hasn't had any long term impact. In March 2008, Apple was heavily criticized for pushing Safari to iTunes and QuickTime users, also through Apple Software Update on Windows. The obvious goal was to increase the browser's small market share on Windows (and it worked, if not at least temporarily), but the way the company decided to do so was very sly.
The next month, Apple posted an "update to Software Update for updating software updates" which added a "New Software" category for listing any Apple software for Windows that is not already installed separately from other updates. Unfortunately, it looks like Cupertino isn't following the rules it created in response to the previous outcries. In the screenshot above, you can see that the MobileMe Control Panel is in this category, but why isn't the iPhone Configuration Utility?
Someone please remind Apple that they do have Windows customers....rather they like it or not.
I am a MacBook Pro user...I am a iPhone user...but I am also a Windows XP user and I wish Apple would take a second to remember they aren't the center of the world....hell, they aren't even 6% of the OS market share.