06-25-2009 02:20 PM
We have well over a thousand Thinkpads in our Enterprise. I am responsible for our Zero Touch build process and use System Update to automate the installation of the Thinkvantage applications (the ones we want anyway) from our local repository. I would like to be able to exclude the Message Center Plus installation. This application has generated dozens of calls to our Help Desk and we've wasted a lot of time working this issue.
I'm also responsible for determining our laptop and desktop hardware standards. When our next cycle of hardware upgrades is upon us, I'll be looking at other vendors for laptops.
06-25-2009 02:54 PM
I can second that I dealt with Mark on another issue and he was extremely helpful.
On this issue, though, I just wanted to ad to the chorus of complaints about the pop-ups. For me, the program seems to work as designed -- if you tell it not to display that message again it doesn't do it. However, it's just that specific advertisement: every once in a while it'll pop up with some new ad.
Needless to say I don't appreciate having pop-up spam appearing on my own computer. Even when the program works as it is supposed to it's extremely irritating to have an unsolicited advertisement jump out at you. I'm astonished that anyone at Lenovo thought this would be a good idea. It's just unprofessional; not the kind of thing you'd expect from a company that supposedly makes computers for businesses. My computer is just for private use, but I can definitely understand why those of you that do purchasing for companies wouldn't buy from Lenovo again.
I had assumed that the message center was for sending out alerts for critical issues: bug fixes and other problems. If it's just there to sell us stuff I'll be uninstalling it.
06-25-2009 04:43 PM
If part of the IBM culture was inherited by at least the US side of Lenovo (Mark is located in RTP, NC) I think part of Mark's job is to make weekly summaries of hot topics from these forums to Lenovo executive management.
So the best thing we can do is to write our posts in such a way that Mark can quote them to his executives. Especially helpful are posts from corporate IT managers responsible for thousands of Thinkpads. I am sure it was those posts that made Lenovo change their mind about Thinkvantage System Update.
So please post your views in such a way that Mark doesn't feel embarassed by quoting them to his management -- and I think sheer volume of such posts is also a factor.Message Edited by zilla on 2009-06-25 10:24 PM
Thanks zilla for pointing this out to everybody.
I'll copy here the message I sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, which is where the guy I called on the phone to complain directed me to send it to. I figure nobody actually has any ability to do anything meaningful with it who reads what arrives at that email address, so I hope that Mark can help us by being an advocate for the customer here and pass this to somewhere where it makes a difference.
To whom it may concern:
I am a longtime IBM/Lenovo customer, having owned a Thinkpad 310ED,
then T42, and now X300. Further, I have constantly recommended
Thinkpad products to countless colleagues over the years, many of whom
took my advice and purchased your product. I have always chosen
IBM/Lenovo products because I believed that IBM/Lenovo offered a
superior product and quality of service. I was willing to pay quite a
premium over your competitors for your product in many cases because
of my prior experience, and perception of your no-nonsense approach to
Today, my image of your company was shattered, when a Lenovo
advertisment came up out of nowhere over top of the
application that I had been running. By all appearances this
advertisement came from your ThinkVantage software suite that comes
pre-installed on my system. I guess that under guise of some kind of
"software update" you thought it was acceptable to load adware on my
system. Note that this was not some pre-installed promotion that came
with the laptop; you stealthily installed this adware on my system a
full 8 months after I purchased it!
I am truly furious at this development. I feel betrayed as a customer.
Leaving aside whether or not what you've done is actually legal, I am
angry that you apparently have so little respect for your customers.
This is MY computer. I paid for it. If you want to notify me of some
sales promotion, fine - send me something in the mail (either
electronic of postal), or give me a phone call. My computer screen is
not your billboard!
As it stands now, I am very hesitant to ever buy any Lenovo branded
products again, and certainly cannot recommend your product to others.
06-25-2009 06:10 PM
I would also like to add my voice to the chorus of complaints. I have recently purchased an X200, and will be evaluating it to determine if our company should switch to using Lenovo as it's sole supplier for laptops.
I take delivery of the X200 today.
I want to make this clear to any Lenovo staff that read this forum.... if one single Lenovo advert pops-up on the desktop at any time, ever, I will have no choice but to stop the evaluation and return the laptop. We simply cannot put our faith or trust in a company that installs Adware.
The implication is clear - if you are willing to install Adware, which is completely obnoxious, but at least visible to the customer, what are you installing that is not visible? What are you doing that we don't know about?
Adware is the domain of un-trustworthy and shady companies. Lenovo spoils the relationship of trust with it's customers by using it.
I hope that the number of people on this forum complaining is enough to get adware retracted, and an official, public, apology from Lenovo.
Thanks for your time,
06-26-2009 07:36 AM
Dear folks at Lenovo,
I was going to type something angry and snarky after all the work you've created for me, but instead I'll just say this:
Making your applications start serving ads is a fantastic way to ensure that IT departments everywhere wipe their lenovo machines upon receipt and install a squeaky clean copy of windows. When the general manager of my place of employment had an ad pop during a meeting with 300 employees he didn't see a bug, he saw adware from Lenovo. His response? Get me to remove all lenovo software from all machines, no exceptions. I imagine this scenario is playing out elsewhere.
Not the wisest marketing move.
06-26-2009 12:07 PM
Over the last couple of days we have received feedback here in the forum and on other sites regarding pop up messages which appear to be originating from Message Center Plus. We respect our customers and apologize for any inconvenience that these messages may have caused.
We created our Message Center Plus application to be a vehicle through which we can reach our loyal customer base. Message Center Plus is designed to notify users of exclusive promotions and deals, as well as to inform them of a specific system status (i.e. if your battery is in fair/poor condition or unable to keep a charge) as well as recalls, critical bulletins & fixes.
If you are receiving messages on your desktop several times a day/several times every few days, or if you continue to get same message even after you check "Do not show this message again", then Message Center Plus is not working as designed in your configuration and may have a problem. Lenovo has no intention to interrupt our users in this way. We are finding that this issue only happens on certain configurations and our teams are working around the clock to recreate this behavior and determine the appropriate fix. We appreciate the feedback and constructive information many have provided here.
As always, you can remove this application entirely by following the steps below:
Thank you again for your candid feedback to help us continue to improve, and for your continued loyalty.
06-26-2009 12:14 PM
Thanks for the update, but please take this comment to whomever has decision making authority. Marketing popups are completely and utterly unacceptable and are completely opposite of the respect Lenovo claims to have for its customers. I'm not buying any more of them unless this policy is changed. I would like to be contacted for recalls and critical updates, as you describe. Now I've lost that. Gee, thanks. Poor job, Lenovo!
06-26-2009 12:20 PM
Tried to deploy 2 new ThinkCentres yesterday, made the mistake of letting Software update install Message center plus. Literally 5 minutes later my RSS reader pulls in the Slashdot story about this little gem. Sure enough, after the next reboot, pop-ups every 5-15 min. Sure enough, they won't stop if you check "don't show", or rather that specific ad might stop, but another will pop up soon. Confirmed that it was message center plus causing the popups and removed it via Add/Remove. Now every time an ad WOULD have popped up, the computer blackscreens and locks up. Now i get to start all over.
First of all, forcing pop-up advertising onto customers desktops is such epically bad judgement, as to border on insane.
Secondly, sneaking adware onto customers desktops in the guise of a "software update", is the sleaziest of business practice, and likely illegal in many jurisditions.
Finally, making that application difficult to identify, remove or disable is monumentally disrespectful of your customer, and again likely illegal many places.
Needless to say i will be *extremely* unlikely to ever spec, buy or recommend Lenovo again. If this had been a bug or badly written piece of software it could be forgiven. If it had been a clearly explained option that was easlily declined it would be tolerable. But what Lenovo did here shows such an utter lack of respect or appreciation for their customers, and such an incredible void of understanding of what is acceptible behaviour that no one with any sense is going to put up with it. Has no one at Lenovo paid any attention to the adware/spyware/online advertising debates that have been going on for the last decade?
I predict that when the fallout from this is over Lenovo won't have sold anything thru thier pop-ups but will have lost a tremendous number of customers, and a lot of the industry respect that was left over from when they were IBM. With all due respect to the unfortunate Lenovo support folks, and Mark in this forum, the only solution to the debacle is to admit you screwed up, pull Message Center Plus from the update, assist your unfortunate customers who got bitten by this to back out of it, and NEVER DO IT AGAIN.
Until i see that happen, I have to assume that Lenovo views their customers as nothing more than sources of revenue, and remove them from my vendor list.
06-26-2009 12:31 PM
Thank you for your contribution to the forum and for trying to help. As noted in my last post, removing Message Center Plus causes my ThinkCentre to blackscreen every time an ad would have popped up. It is a ThinkCentre MT-M 9964-A1U, if that helps.
To second what others have said here, while we appreciate your work trying to come up with a fix, the real issue is that this happened at all. Pop-over advertising has be verboten for everyone but scammer/adware/spyware vendors since the beginning of this decade. It's astounding that an organization with the pedigree of Lenovo didn't understand that or chose to ignore it.
Please push these comments as far upstream in your org as you are capable of. This was an astronomically bad decision. It shows an appalling lack of respect for Lenovo's customers, and It WILL, and I dare say already has, cost Lenovo customers.