So… Let me see if I’m parsing this one correctly.

In the buildup to Windows Vista, Microsoft complained that PC makers were putting too much crapware on their PCs, thereby ruining the "user experience" of Windows for new users. "We can't do anything about it because it would be illegal," a senior Microsoft executive told CBS News in January 2007. Fair enough.

Meanwhile, courts around the globe previously found that Microsoft had illegally bundled so-called middleware in Windows, therefore abusing its monopoly power. I'd point out that these middleware applications—IE, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger, etc.—are arguably "crapware" since they're just additional junk that shouldn't be forced on consumers.

Yesterday, Microsoft proudly announced a deal with HP in which the world's largest PC maker will bundle Microsoft's Windows Live toolbar, an obvious bit of crapware, on every single PC it sells in the US and Canada in 2009.

Um. What?

So… is this ironic? Hypocritical? Or just pathetic?

I think its all three. I also think that the deal with HP to bundle Microsoft applications on all new PCs next year is a handy way for the software giant to bypass its legal requirements around the world.

In short, I think it stinks. The Windows Live Search toolbar—like Windows Live Search itself--should succeed or fail on its own.