End to end problems

I know it's a cliché for mac users to bitch about Windows, but I'm giving an old PC of mine to a friend and after wiping it clean and setting everything up, I can't believe how hostile the process is to the user. Every aspect of it is tainted, because someone, somewhere can make a buck at each stage of the process. There's Microsoft, nagging you for updates and virus protection and 30-day demos. There are applications themselves trying to install toolbars and upsell you to the paid pro version. There are download websites trying to trick you into also installing a "registry cleaner" as if you'd need one. Then there are all the pre-installed apps on the HP box, where half of the Start menu items seem to be "special offers" for online services, games, and software suites. I feel like I've run through an obstacle course for the past three hours trying to avoid every trap door that surrounded me.

There's something to be said about Apple's end-to-end control from the smallest bits of hardware all the way to the operating system, including installed applications and out-of-box experience. At least they know new customers aren't going to be harrassed for hours after spending hundreds-to-thousands on a computer.

I'm trying to imagine if I just came home from Best Buy with this HP computer, how insulted I'd feel by the process and how I'd think I just wasted my time and money.