I received this comment last night from Richard Brownrigg:
I am the VP of Technology for Starz Entertainment and my team built Vongo. I am sorry that you have had a difficult consumer experience with Vongo on your HP.
I appreciate you offering me a forum to correct a few of the statements in your blog with some additional insights. While I appreciate and sympathize with your frustration and displeasure, without this additional context, I feel the statements posted here are inaccurate and unfair.
There are a number of items you reference from other sites and just like those sites, had you contacted us, we could have explained what the issue was and how it happened. Thank you for letting me do it here.
I am not here to argue the point of whether or not software should be preinstalled on an OEM PC. I am going to address what happen with the installation of Vongo on the HP laptops.
We built Vongo using what I thought to be enterprise grade tools and components (which should mean superior performance for consumers). Two of those tools were from Macrovision – InstallShield and Software Update Services. The Software Update Services tool has issues with its architecture. Macrovision engineers have admitted responsibility to us for this, but unfortunately they can not give an update to us at this time
Here is what happened.
HP decided to install software from Sonic and us. We both use the Macrovision’s InstallShield and Software Update Services. Sonic was installed first on the HP laptops followed by Vongo. During the installation of Vongo, the Macrovision InstallShield failed to see that another version of the Macrovision Software Update Services was installed on the machine and proceeded to overwrite some of the Software Update Services components.
If the user never tires to uninstall Vongo everything is fine. It is when someone tries to remove Vongo that the problem occurs and the same problem would happen if the user tried to uninstall Sonic, which they probably won’t since it is the CD / DVD burning software.
This might be a bit complex, but the problem is with the InstallShield Uninstall and the Software Update Services. When the consumer uses the Macrovision Uninstall routines to uninstall an application that installed the application and the Macrovision Software Update Services, the uninstaller ONLY uninstalls the software and not the associated registry settings and components of the Software Update Services. There are over 100 registry entries that are written but the installation of the Software Update Service will NEVER be removed.
So, in a nutshell, since the Vongo InstallShield installation overwrote some of the components of the Software Update Services that Sonic installed, the Software Update service thinks the Vongo install is broken and it tries to repair it by reinstalling Vongo.
Again, we have tried to work with Macrovision to fix the problem, but Macrovision indicates that there is not a way for them to remedy the situation because of the complex nature of how they install the Software Update Services. This could have happened to any program using Installshield/Software Update Services and unfortunately we just so happened to be the one whose service was primarily affected. Unfortunately you are a consumer who was impacted by this as well and for that I apologize, but I do feel incumbent to at least share with you and your readers what exactly happened here and the story as to why it happened.
We have temporary “work arounds” on our web site, which I can understand does not address the long term issue, but it is all we can do at this time.
As far as the long-term steps that we have taken,
1) We have also decided to drop the use of all Macrovision products form our code base. With the March release, we no longer use the Software Update Services, and in the summer we will drop the InstallShield tools altogether as well.
We also do not delete any programs or invoke any DLLs other than ours, and we do not hijack any running process. Yes, our service uses port 2005 to communicate out bound to our services, but we do not hide it. We actually tell users what ports we use and how to configure their firewalls to support it.
So, you can see why categorizing us as “spyware” is antithetical to everything that I have done in designing and crafting my service.
Thanks for reading. "
If this is all true, VONGO and HP should have been MUCH MORE forthcoming with this information. Google "Removing Vongo" and my blog, PRIMARILY about Type 1 diabetes and motherhood is the number 5 hit, behind 3 other blogs and CNET. I get more hits per day from my 2 other entries regarding Vongo, then I get from my "regular" readers. Nowhere does Vongo's site show up in that Google search.
If this is true, WHY has it taken Vongo so long to make any sort of effort to rebute what has been said, over and over and over again? And where is HP in all of this?
I find it AMAZINGLY frustrating that not a SINGLE person at HP EVER relayed this information. Their "stock" response has always been to just "delete it in safe mode" and act surprised when it doesn't work.
Personally, as a "computer techie" I can understand the intricacies of programming and the seemingly endless possibilities for programs to unexpectedly "go bad" because of issues with other software. I almost feel sorry for Vongo. Almost.
As a consumer, this has probably been one of the most frustrating experiences ever. Regardless of who is at fault, I still want Vongo off of my computer.
Take it or leave it, folks, but at least we have an answer.