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In response to my earlier post, Sean Sundwall of 180 Solutions has this to say:

We agree, ActiveX is somewhat problematic and for that reason, it is not our preferred method of installation. However, it is a method that some of our web publishing partners request so we continue to provide this as one of several options. As you stated, many well known software makers use ActiveX to install software. But given the limitations Microsoft has imposed on the ActiveX install experience, it’s probably fair to say that ActiveX by itself cannot truly provide the user with enough information to make an informed decision, no matter who the software maker is. This is why we provide additional notification such as the dialog boxes you posted in your update, to ensure there is no confusion and no question as to what is being installed, what the tradeoff is for users and how they can uninstall. We expect that over time, fewer and fewer publishers will use the ActiveX method, but in the meantime, we offer ActiveX as an option building in the extra measures to ensure complete disclosure.

We also recognize that many consumers don’t read EULAs (Google has done away with one altogether for their Desktop Search tool). We believe, though, that EULAs are necessary and have made every effort to offer one of the shortest and easiest to understand in the software industry. And rather than simply provide a link to our EULA, we add it to the installation dialog boxes for all to see. But knowing EULAs are often skimmed or skipped altogether, we provide a plain-language description that really cannot be misunderstood. And just in case the user doesn’t read that or was somehow confused, we provide a short, clear reminder to the user upon completion of the installation that they have installed our products and we provide a link to our customer support services. We feel like this represents a fair, honest and transparent installation experience.


Alex Eckelberry