For years, Windows users have been dealing with Bloatware — pre-installed, mostly-useless software that burdens and bogs down almost every new Windows PC. It is not unusual for a new PC to have dozens of programs pre-installed, ranging from virus scanners to Skype to cheap video games, all stealing valuable storage space, RAM, and CPU cycles. Meanwhile, of course, on the other side of the blindingly white picket fence, Macs come with a bunch of first-party (and mostly first-rate) Apple applications — and that’s it. For Windows advocates, this has always been a particularly tough bone of contention: Even though Windows 8, in its base state, is faster and more stable than OS X, it’s hard to extol the virtues of a crud-laden, $300 PC from Dell or Acer.

How did the Windows OEM ecosystem ever end...