Fairly recently, Apple put the official 3.1 version of their browser on their update channel, which comes with any version of iTunes or QuickTime. The problem with this was that it was put there even if the user hadn't downloaded the program. Millions of people all over the world will be clicking the 'install' button without looking at what they're installing. Mozilla CEO John Lilly called it "wrong, [bordering] on malware distribution practices"
"This is a problem because, by and large, all software makers are trying to get users to trust us on updates, and so the likely behavior here is for users to just click “Install 2 items,” which means that they’ve now installed a completely new piece of software, quite possibly completely unintentionally. Apple has made it incredibly easy — the default, even — for users to install ride along software that they didn’t ask for, and maybe didn’t want."
(photo courtesy of CNET)
In another blog, CNET's Tom Krazit argues that users should be thinking before they install.
But the real problem is not the user. The real problem is that Apple is breaking the trust that has developed between them and the user.
But this is not the first occurrence of a software company using automatic upload channels to force a product on a customer. All the major IM companies have tried it, Yahoo had several lawsuits filed against it in 2005 for it, etc. Still, that doesn't make what Apple did any less irritating.