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Microsoft's Big Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Built-In Advertising


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#1 Asrokhel

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:25

Despite the fact that I've been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we're not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. Is it a problem? Let's tackle this from a couple of different angles.

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The Modern UI (Metro) interface of Windows 8 essentially delivers a mobile experience on whatever device it's used on, be it a desktop, notebook or tablet. On previous mobile platforms, such as iOS and Android, seeing ads inside of free apps hasn't been uncommon. It's a way for the developer to get paid while allowing the user to have the app for free. That's where the first big difference comes in. While people can expect ads in a free app, no one expects ads in a piece of software that they just paid good money for. I actually can't think of another immediate example where a piece of paid software shows ads.

But there are other angles to look at this from. People subscribe to cable, and see ads. However, the difference there is that's a recurring subscription, and it could be assumed that without ads, cable fees would be much higher. Then there's the fact that the apps inside of the Modern UI are all Internet-capable, so in a sense, they all act like their own customized browser. We're used to seeing ads on websites, so is this really that different? It's hard to say, but again, as free services, that's to be expected.

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The answer of just how wrong Microsoft is to cram advertisements in its commercial software will differ from person to person, I'm sure. Me, I'm not too bothered, but I can totally relate to anyone who is. From all I can tell, none of the ads are intrusive, and I appreciate that. As for them being in paid software, that doesn't bother me either because of that above fact. However, I am bothered by other aspects.

The biggest mistake here on Microsoft's behalf is that no one is made aware of these ads until they happen to stumble on them. No one is going to expect ads to be loaded in their paid-for OS, so a notification of that at first boot would be appreciated. Further, no one is given the option to disable them (though I'm sure it'd take little more than an editing of the hosts file). Finally, there's also the fact that these ads haven't decreased the price of the OS, else that'd be a point Microsoft would no doubt flaunt.

We can't talk about the inclusion of ads and not mention the "T" word: tracking. I haven't been able to find any information on whether or not Microsoft's tracking the ads you are clicking on, but if that is indeed the case, we'll find out soon enough. Unlike Windows 7 and earlier, your entire Windows 8 account can be tied to an e-mail account, so it would be rather easy for Microsoft to track things on a personal level - much like how Google does with its search engine, e-mail and so forth. This alone gives good reason to be concerned.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you okay with Microsoft infusing the Modern UI with ads? Would you ever be interested in a less expensive version of Windows that was ad-supported?

















http://hothardware.c...In-Advertising/


#2 Javik

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:28

I've said it about Android and I'll say the same for Microsoft. If developers wish to support their software with advertising that's their choice. Anyone that bothered should just use an adblocking solution.

#3 Prince Charming

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:29

Fuss about nothing. They aren't ads in the operating system. They're apps in optional apps that ship by default with the operating system. They're supporting the free apps that you can uninstall and install at will, or replace with other free or paid apps. That's all there is to it. It's not some kind of big hidden secret at all.

#4 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:37

We've known about this for several months, so I really don't know why the OP thinks it's new information...

#5 OP Asrokhel

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:39

Because, it is new information, to me, and anyone else who hasn't used Windows 8!

#6 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:40

It's been on the forums for months.

#7 jakem1

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:42

No, it's not new information but it's still pretty bad. The ads in the XBox Music app are particularly egregious because they're noisy and interrupt your music.

I don't think the situation compares to the case of 3rd-party developers including ads in their apps either. If you pay for Windows the assumption is that you also pay for the built-in apps that come with it. If I bay an ad-supported app from a 3rd-party developer I do so knowing that the app includes ads - Windows should be different.

#8 OP Asrokhel

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:54

It is new to me, and that's all that matters, and like I said, it's also new to people who haven't used Win8, and that's all that matters as well.

Now I am done arguing!

#9 +Phouchg

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:55

Embrace the future of computing... and block it using hosts.

#10 +MikeChipshop

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:57

As mentioned, these have been known about for months, they're not in the OS but in some apps.
If an app is free or has a nominal price then i'm happy to have a few ads in there to support the hard work of the developer.

#11 vetCalum

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 18:57

[. . .]
The ads in the XBox Music app are particularly egregious because they're noisy and interrupt your music.
[. . .]

Isn't that only if you don't have an Xbox Music subscription, though? Spotify and others play ads in their free packages, too, as no company can offer an unlimited free version without ads.

#12 rhianntp

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 19:04

This is the least of our worries considering the changes to the EULA... but yes.. another reason to run from Win 8

#13 torrentthief

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 19:05

it is news to me, just another reason why i don't want to upgrade from win7.

#14 ahhell

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 19:14

It is new to me, and that's all that matters, and like I said, it's also new to people who haven't used Win8, and that's all that matters as well.

Now I am done arguing!


You guys are forgetting that it's all about this guy and what he thinks matters. :rolleyes:

#15 TPreston

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 19:17

Embrace the future of computing... and block it using hosts.


Or a network firewall, I wonder if these ads will also send your music choices to sleazy tracking domains like scorecardreserch ... Do I even have to ask ?

These days you need a bloody enterprise level firewall just to use a computer or browse the internet.