You would think that companies would have learned their lesson after the Superfish debacle, but I guess it should be no surprise that money talks. Windows users that install Java on their machines have attempted to dodge the installation of the Ask.com toolbar for years. Oracle bundles the adware with its Java package and counts on unsuspecting or simply inattentive users to allow the installation of the Ask.com toolbar.
Mac users that chose to install Java were immune to such trickery; that it is until now. Unfortunately, Oracle has doubled down on its Ask.com “deliveries” by adding the adware to the Java 8 Update 40 installer for Macs. ZDNet’s Ed Bott reports that as with Windows installations of Java, the option to install the Ask.com toolbar is enabled by default. If you quickly blaze through installation screens without paying attention, you’ll end up with the adware installed on your default browser.
What’s most interesting in all of this is that Ask.com already knows that its search toolbar is junk and borderline useless. “In an apparently unwitting acknowledgment that its software isn't really a ‘convenient browsing tool,’ as its description suggests, the Help menu for the Ask button on the Chrome toolbar leads directly to a page containing uninstall instructions,” Bott writes. “The same menu contains a separate Uninstall listing.”
But IAC, the parent company of Ask.com, is hoping that users won’t bother asking questions or uninstalling its toolbar. After all, IAC’s efforts must be working or it wouldn’t be branching out into the Mac market via Oracle. Ask.com, which is included in IAC’s Search and Applications Division, helped contribute $1.6 billion in revenue for the company during 2014. With numbers like that, it’s easy to see why companies like Lenovo and Oracle are eager to accept commissions that come with allowing the installation of these adware programs that are more of a nuisance than of actual benefit to customers.