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30 May 2011, 17:04

Skype installs third party software against users' wishes

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Skype and EasyBits logos Over the weekend, a Skype partner firm used the VoIP software's auto-update function to install a program on users' systems – even against users' express wishes. EasyBits has been responsible for online gaming on the Skype platform since 2006. Now, the company's stand-alone "EasyBits Go" games centre has been installed on Skype for Windows users' computers via a games update.

Users were given the option to abort the installation – but the program was installed regardless. The unwanted program created a separate program folder and proved difficult to uninstall. Although it appeared in the list of installed programs and could be uninstalled from there, the program folders and their contents as well as the Skype plug-in remained in place.

Skype says that the whole thing was an accident: "This latest update from EasyBits included elements of their desktop games organiser in error, but it neither installs nor un-installs correctly." The company has since disabled the update.

EasyBits' statement was less forthcoming: "...we have been steadily improving our offerings [...] Our users have made many suggestions during the years and our last update was driven by making as many of the suggested improvements as possible in the EasyBits GO update". According to EasyBits, daily game sessions have jumped from 850,000 to over 7 million since the update. EasyBits says that defects in the user interface of the update installer "leads to unintentional installations" and apologised for the inconvenience. Those who want to remove the software can use an uninstaller the company has provided for this purpose.


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