They're telling me who made the OS, who made the processor, who made the speakers, who made the graphics card and who put all of these together! Such details are acceptable on the packaging, but once I've bought it, they're just advertisements.

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Do these stickers serve any purpose? It it not unethical?

  • 3
    As so many users never remove them it's clearly smart advertisement.
    – ColdCat
    Jan 18, 2014 at 16:27
  • It's actually an ad-based industry, the prices they charge for the actual laptops are just for show. Jan 18, 2014 at 16:29
  • 1
    I don't see where / how ethics come into this? PLus they are also a good way to know / remember / find out what is in the machine without opening it up or using diagnostics information tools. Jan 18, 2014 at 17:07
  • Last year i was running a cafe. For new flyer, I wanted to put all stuff. It was like putting sticker shaped thins makes more value, you can catch one more user if you put one more. (price badges, goverment healty food badge, supplier brands etc)
    – nerkn
    Jan 18, 2014 at 23:56
  • I particularly dislike how when they come off they leave a nasty sticky glue mark which can be difficult to remove
    – PhillipW
    Jan 19, 2014 at 20:22

4 Answers 4


There are two aspects to it.

The first one is brand reinforcement as the appearance of a well known brand such as intel or Microsoft helps authenticate the laptop. I know these details can be present on the system as well but these stickers help authenticate and reinforce a brand during displays as they highlight the key offerings.

Another obvious reason is brand visibility. Though one could argue that consumers are computer savvy and would know what they want in a computer, the visibility of a brand icon on some else's computer can lead to recognition when you decide to buy a computer later and the same icon is there. The visibility of the logos also helps in reinforcing the brand to users.

However the legal reason is that Original equipment manufacturers (OEM's) require companies to display these stickers as part of their tie up with them.To quote this article from the NY times

There’s big money involved. Intel, Microsoft, Skype and whoever else is represented by the stickers actually pay the computer companies for the billboard space. That’s why H.P., for example, would tolerate gumming up its laptops’ good looks with crass ads. (Apple refuses to put Intel stickers on its computers, even though there’s Intel inside. In doing so, it leaves millions of dollars a year on the table.

  • Means it's unethical indeed.
    – kBisla
    Jan 18, 2014 at 17:25
  • 3
    @BlueFlame: Sorry? Making money and advertising are unethical? I think you really need to look up definitions of ethical and unethical. Something isn't unethical just because money is involved. Nobody is stopping anybody from removing the stickers, and even if they were, how would that be different making the laptop's brand name unremovable (by etching or whatever means they use to display it). What would be unethical, or plain deceitful is displaying stickers of brand names that aren't in that laptop... Jan 18, 2014 at 20:41
  • @MarjanVenema So you agree that this is advertising indeed. Branding the laptop is one thing but advertising on my product is another. Using My Product as a hording is unethical.
    – kBisla
    Jan 18, 2014 at 22:04
  • 1
    @BlueFlame: From my point of view, they are just telling you what is in your PC, just as the pc manufacturer is letting everybody know you are using one of their products. Nothing more nothing less. But let's just agree to disagree here. (Sidenote: one thing regarding stickers I do find obnoxious though still not unethical: garages putting their logo on my car... and those stickers can actually damage the car's paint job). Jan 19, 2014 at 12:11
  • 1
    @BlueFlame You don't own the product till you buy it. Are you going to gouge out the brand name embedded in the plastic case? Are you equally offended by refrigerators and automobiles? Your complaint about ethics is ... (I can't think of the word)
    – Rob
    Jan 20, 2014 at 13:39

Yes. They are advertisements alone and have no value to you. Many people cover them up with their own like FreeBSD or Linux users will cover over the Windows sticker with their own.


Most retail stores put the laptop on display - where all these stickers will be visible and quickly show people what's inside them as they shop.

  • 1
    That can be done by stickers that are easier to remove, but most of them are impossible to remove and outlive the laptop.
    – kBisla
    Jan 18, 2014 at 21:58

In addition to the advertising benefits to the companies, which is the primary correct answer to this question, I find that the stickers can sometimes be helpful for me as a user to remember what's in a computer when I have multiple machines of varying ages and capabilities.

That could be easily accomplished by having a label on the underside of the computer with the information, or having a file stored somewhere on a hard drive listing the various capabilities and then going into that file to find out.

However, just leaving the stickers there is the easiest route to that useful result.

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