CNET Alpha Blog: absolutely do not try Amazon Unbox

“I do not recommend you try Amazon Unbox, and here’s why,” Tom Merritt blogs for CNET. “Even after it downloaded fully, it wouldn’t play. I tried several times in both the Amazon player and the regular Windows Media Player, to no avail. After less than two minutes, though, I found that if I dragged the progress indicator in the Amazon player a little, it would start playing.”

“I left work after that and rebooted my laptop at home. That’s when the real trouble began. I noticed that the Amazon player had launched itself. Annoying. I looked in the program for a preference to stop it from launching itself, and there was none. Typical. So I went to msconfig and unchecked Amazon Unbox so that it would definitely not launch itself at start-up. When I rebooted, it was no longer there. However, my firewall warned me that a Windows service (ADVWindowsClientService.exe) was trying to connect to the Net. I clicked More Info in the firewall alert and found it was Amazon Unbox. Downright offensive. It still was launching a Net-connection process that even msconfig apparently couldn’t stop. Forget it. That’s not the behavior of good software. I went to uninstall it,” Merritt explains.

“After the Install Shield launched and I chose uninstall, I got a login screen for my Amazon account. I just wanted to uninstall it. I shouldn’t have to log in to my account to do that. So I canceled the login, and the uninstall failed. I tried that three times, and it failed each time. Finally I gave up and logged in and the uninstall finished,” Merritt writes.

Merritt writes, “So, in summary, to be allowed the privilege of purchasing a video that I can’t burn to DVD and can’t watch on my iPod, I have to allow a program to hijack my start-up and force me to login to uninstall it? No way. Sorry, Amazon. I love a lot of what you do, but I will absolutely not recommend this service.”

Full article here.
Unsurprisingly, the reviews aren’t as pretty as the press release.

Related articles:
Analyst: ‘Amazon Unbox – Well that didn’t work at all’ – September 09, 2006
Analysts: Amazon’s ‘Unbox’ to be ‘Unsuccessful’ vs. Apple – September 08, 2006
Cringely: Apple, Amazon, and what Steve Jobs has up his sleeve for next Tuesday – September 08, 2006 launches ‘Amazon Unbox’ DVD-quality video download service with TV shows and movies – September 07, 2006


  1. And I ask, “Was this not expected?”

    It seems obvious now that Amazon rushed this out the door just to steal some of the thunder from Apple’s announcement on Tuesday. With the web smacking Amazon around, Apple’s offering better be rock solid. (which I assume it will be ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> )

  2. You know, this just makes me realize what a great job Apple’s done so far: when I download an episode of Lost (or whatever) I don’t at all worry about it not playing, nor of iTunes hijacking my computer. Things just work as they should; a simple concept, but obviously not easy to execute with material this complex.

  3. Why all the repeated criticism and scathing comments? Amazon and Microsoft are working precisely according to well-established historical standards. If Unbox worked flawlessly, well, now that would be news worthy of attention.

  4. What’s great is that Apple can quote all these bad reviews in its presentation on Tuesday. It can even make a list like it did with the iTMS to show what’s better with their offer than with competing one(s). ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” />

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