Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 21st Nov 2008 00:11 UTC, submitted by Moulinneuf
Windows Every now and then, an article pops up which argues that it would make sense for Microsoft to offer a free, ad-powered version of Windows. "We are all aware that Google is the king of online advertising. Microsoft has wanted to compete in that space forever, which is why giving away Windows 7 makes so much sense," Business Pundit argues, "Let's look at the numbers; Microsoft's operating systems are on 90% of the world's computers, or roughly one billion machines. That's penetration on a massive scale. Even Google has to be impressed." While these articles make some valid points, they rarely dive into the actual details.
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All this time, one edge of widescreen displays has been horribly underutilized by so many Windows users, since there's a human ergonomics issue with having too wide of text displays for readability. Simple solution: make sure that people still have the old aspect ratio of 4:3 for screen real estate for regular applications, and they'll be none the wiser, all while having ads placed on the remaining "extra" width that people weren't using before!

Well, that seems to be the drug-induced thoughts this guest writer has in mind, or something along those lines. Here's a great question: what about computers that aren't online, do they just not work unless they're online and displaying ads?

On the other hand, if you think about it, there's a distinct advantage long-term for ads, if you make it impossible to hide the ad-bar on the side with other windows: by definition, people using a Windows PC are more likely to be awake and at the computer and seeing those ads than not, more readily measurable by keyboard/mouse usage than TV viewers. As long as Microsoft was able to ensure that the Ad Service was never disabled, this may actually be a better, sustainable revenue stream for the really long tail: it wouldn't matter whether or not they updated the OS or trying to get people to use a new one, because at least they'd have a steady income stream for as long as people used the machine, and didn't find some way to disable the ads (yeah, right!). In that case, as long as people didn't find ways to bypass the ads, Windows 7 as a viral product (I know I've had my computer's BIOS complain of a boot sector virus when installing Windows before, so...) may work to their advantage.

But, again, let's go back to reality: how would Microsoft determine which ads to place on whose computers? Would that include monitoring everything that the user did on their PCs? Yeah, that'll go over like a turd in a punch bowl!

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