Microsoft Trials Windows 7 as Adspace

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Microsoft has announced that it is to allow third parties to advertise within Windows 7 itself though the medium of desktop themes and extensions for the company’s browser, Internet Explorer 8.

The new advertising channel won’t be a bundle of in-you-face pop-ups though, for those concerned about completely losing the run of their OS. Instead, users can opt to install a Windows 7 theme made by the manufacturer of whatever their current favourite brand is. It might seem a little uninteresting, but some of the themes are made by companies with a name for design. At the moment, there are some up from Fox, Porsche, Coca-Cola, Infinity, Pepsi and a bundle of Xbox 360 related themes.

While many have been quick to criticise Microsoft for selling out somehow, it’s hard to see just how this latest addition to the Windows environment will negatively effect users who feel they’d be bothered by the move. For now, the whole thing is entirely opt-in, so for now at least there’s no worry that Microsoft is to shoehorn advertising into users’ machines.

Of course, many have already pointed out that this “sponsored themes” business could very well end up being one of Microsoft’s teetering first steps towards an entirely ad-supported operating system… we’re not sure how welcome that news would be to people who’ve opted to fork out the money for Windows 7, but for those who are still using the beta copies (set to expire around April of next year) the ability to continue to use the OS for free could be very attractive indeed.

Of course, the biggest issue with that is that Apple has already wedged itself in the door by patenting advertising supported operating systems and a lot of the features a company might need to sort it out… and Apple is pretty infamously litigious.

Still, interesting stuff. Is it a shameful thing to admit that I’m interested in the Coke theme?

Anyone with an interest can grab the themes from Microsoft by heading over to its page for sponsored Windows 7 themes.

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2 Responses to “Microsoft Trials Windows 7 as Adspace”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I don’t mind this idea in theory. DeviantART and Customize are choca-block with fan-made themed that proudly wear corporate brands. The difference is that, this time, someone will make money from it. Which irks me a little, because Microsoft (if they didn’t give me Win7 free) charged me money for the OS, and now expect me to pay them more by making my computer an advertising platform.

    • komplettie Says:

      Knowing this to be a subject you’ll be aware of at least a little, I have a similar issue with Sony at the moment. I feel the same way about Wipeout on the PS3. I’ve paid them for a game, but it gets updated every few weeks to contain new ads for games I don’t want.

      At least the themed version of Windows don’t add egregious load times. It’s something I’m more bothered by than I should be.

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