After a rocky start which involved post-launch outages and subsequent apology letter not to mention the big reveal that MobileMe wasn’t exactly the “push” service they advertised, Apple finally has MobileMe up and running. But now, after updating iTunes to the latest version, many Windows users were surprised to find a new MobileMe icon in their Control Panel. Apple is once again sneaking software onto our PCs – the question is, why are we letting them get away with this?

MobileMe Bundled With iTunes

This isn’t exactly the first time Apple has sneaked additional programs onto our machines. Already notorious for bundling QuickTime with iTunes, Apple was finally taken to task last March, when they bundled Safari with their iTunes software update. (QuickTime is one thing, apparently an entire web browser is quite another.)

Yet, they didn’t learn their lesson from that experience, or even more likely, they just don’t care. They’re Apple. You love them. They can do anything right?

Wrong. The truth of the matter is, outside the tech blogosphere (which, ironically, doesn’t seem to include that many blogs about computer software), the MobileMe “malware,” as it’s being called in some cases, is ahottopicfordiscussion.

When clicked, the icon launches a window that essentially functions as an advertisement for the MobileMe service with text that reads:

“Try MobileMe

MobileMe stores your email, contacts, calendar, photos and files in an online “cloud,” and keeps your Mac, PC, iPhone, or iPod touch up to date. Sign up now and experience MobileMe today.”

And guess what happens when you click the “Learn More…” button? You are, of course, taken to a web site where you are able to purchase the MobileMe service.

To remove the icon, you have to go into the Control Panel, Launch “Add/Remove Programs” (“Programs and Features” on Vista), and uninstall the program “Apple Mobile Device Support.” Since the name of that program doesn’t actually say “MobileMe,” a more novice Windows user might not know that it is the program responsible for the new icon on their machine and leave it be.

If any other company did the same (especially Microsoft!) the outrage would be deafening. So why aren’t we hearing more complaints about this behavior when Apple does it? Can they really do whatever they want?