Sun’s JRE6 install now comes with the Yahoo! Toolbar. We can’t get clear confirmation as to whether this is an entirely new deal but it’s a mistake either way.

Surely, this is a misguided attempt at making money from a free download. The tech crowd will deplore it as an attempt at tricking them into installing something they don’t want while the rest of the world might actually be fooled into clicking ‘next’ and ignoring the pre-ticked check-box only to find out later that a new toolbar has taken over their browser.

The tactic isn’t a good one. How many people are genuinely going to see a bundle and think to themselves “ah yes, I want the Yahoo! Toolbar”. The general consensus is that people despise such tactics. I wouldn’t call it outright deception, but a pre-approved message with a clear ‘next’ button tells me that someone, somewhere hopes you won’t notice and just press it. While the bundle is bad for Java’s image to start with, the sneaky pre-approval will truly offend. Not a good idea when you need developers to champion your development platform. This isn’t some free webcam software we’re talking about, this is the Java Runtime Environment.

Personally, I feel this is detrimental to both brands. Sure, it will get the search-bar onto browsers, but how valuable are these new installs. They look great on a chart but

When the Macromedia did something similar with Flash I voiced my concern (Google cache page) and was quickly contacted by the team who assured me that they were going to change it (which they did, kinda). I understand the immediate financial sense of bundling but think it’s a terrible mistake to make your flagship download look like cheap freeware.

Thanks to ninja Java-developer Anthony for pointing this out (and sharing some anger).