There's an old joke about a young fellow that kills his parents, then asks for mercy from the judge because he's an orphan. Sony seems to be trying a weird version of that approach to sell laptop computers. If you agree to pay them an extra $50, Sony will wipe your new laptop computer clean of pre-loaded crapware, the resource-gobbling program junk you never wanted in the first place.
Nowadays, many people pay little or nothing for the copy of Windows loaded on PCs because manufacturers charge suppliers for bundling "crapware" -- trial software, Internet services, the Google Toolbar and similar rubbish. (And anti-trust regulations mean there's nothing Microsoft can do about it.) Since the bloatware often slows Windows down and can have even worse effects on Vista, users often devote time to removing it, but not everyone can.
Sony is one of the worst offenders, and often slugs its notebook PCs with an unbelievable amount of crapware, including Sony's own Sonic Stage and possibly the VAIO Entertainment Center, VAIO Productivity Center, VAIO Center Access Bar, VAIO Media 6.0, VAIO Photo 2007 and VAIO Video & Photo Suite. What Sony users know as the "semi-clean" install is one way of trying to deal with it.
HotHardware can neither confirm nor deny that Sony is considering letting you have the laptop for free if you let a Nigerian spammer sleep on your couch instead of emailing you every day.