I have had this at the back of my mind for sometime and I believe UX is the proper place to post this though I may not phrase the question right so please chime in if you have suggestions!
There are many examples showing that corporations in general believe that the road to profitability and longevity comes from delivering products that don't just perform well but show that they have put in the extra effort to make it better for the consumer. A couple examples: when my electric toothbrush is running low on power, it blinks for several uses before it runs out, giving ample notice to recharge it; when I leave my headlights on and open the door, the car reminds me to turn them off.
The glaring counter-example to this in the US is liquid laundry detergent. The instructions typically say to fill the cap to line 1 for a medium load. Simple in principle but in practice line 1 is usually difficult to find and the casual user (i.e. all of us) is misled to believe the obvious demarcation is synonymous with "line 1" when it is well above the usually subtly marked "line 1". The user (needlessly) consumes more product; the manufacturer (purposefully) makes more profit. The blogger NCN describes it well in Beware Of The Laundry Detergent Cap, complete with a photograph of a typical misleading laundry cap.
What brought this to a tipping point for me is one manufacturer carrying this nefarious arrangement to an absurd height--still indicating "line 1" as the necessary amount but not even bothering to include line 1 on the cap! Perhaps this was just an oversight in manufacturing. Sure.
In any case, my intent here is not to rant but to wonder if a misleading business practice like this is really a good business practice, counter to my (anecdotal) claim that I began with in the first paragraph?
Just thought of an equivalent example for software: deceptive download pages. I am sure you have seen them. You search for a product and go to its presumptive download page. The real link to download is usually there but overshadowed by a link to something else, usually tied to an advertisement. The real link is typically much smaller and often "below the fold" (i.e. you have to scroll to see it). Bill Pytlovany (of WinPatrol fame) points out that these show up even on highly reputable sites like CNet--see the screenshots in Dangerous Downloads on Legitimate Websites & Search Engines)