When it comes pre-loaded junk and crapware, Windows 8 appears to be no different than its predecessors -- expect that the Windows 8 PC you buy will be loaded with it. When will Microsoft recognize that this is no way to please its customers?
Serdar Yegulalp of Byte has done an excellent analysis of the junk and crapware you can expect to find on a number of Windows 8 PCs from Acer, Samsung, Toshiba, Dell, and Lenovo. He breaks out all the added software into three categories: software from the OEM that's required to run the PC such as drivers and system management tools; software from the OEM that offers additional features, such as S Pen software from Samsung; and the astonishing variety of trial software that we've all come to know and hate.
The first category is necessary, the second category sometimes problematic and so sometimes can be considered junk, and the third category is junk and crapware.
According to Yegulalp's reporting and analysis, you'll find the usual trials and crud on Windows 8 PCs that you have on previous versions of Windows: Wild Tangent demos and games, trials of Norton and McAfee security suites, trials of Microsoft Office, and the assorted deitrus that will drive you around the bend.
Ironic is that even though Microsoft is pushing Windows 8 apps (formerly called Metro apps, then called "Modern," "Modern UI-style" and "Windows 8-style, and now called formally Windows 8 Store apps), the crapware is Desktop apps, not Windows 8 apps.
Why all the crapware? Manufacturers get paid to put it machines. And it appears that might help hold down costs of some PCs, possibly by about $100. How do I arrive at that number? Microsoft sells online what it calls Signature PCs, which come clean, with no crapware on them. The price of an Acer Aspire V5-571P-6499 touchscreen Windows 8 notebook is $699 bought from the site, free of crapware. The same machine, bought from Amazon with the usual gunk sells for $799.
Not coincidentally, if you have a machine with crapware on it and wanted it cleaned, you can bring it into a Microsoft store -- and the price you pay will be $99.
Even though crapware may reduce the cost of a machine by $100 (and there's no guarantee that OEMs actually do pass their cost savings on to you), its presence hurts Microsoft. Crapware slows PCs, and causes systems problems and major annoyances. It's a big reason that the out-of-box experience of getting a new Mac is superior to getting a new PC.
It's likely that tablets, at least at first, will be less full of crapware than PCs. That's because they're Start screen-focused, not Desktop-focused, and for now there isn't Windows 8 native crapware (at least none that I could find). But that could change over time. And if Windows 8 tablets are shipped with crapware, Microsoft will never gain significant market share.