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Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads 635

MojoKid writes "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. 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. However, 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."
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Microsoft's Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Ads

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  • M$ (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:01PM (#41919083)

    M$

    • Re:M$ (Score:5, Funny)

      by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:11PM (#41919199) Homepage Journal

      Like Smokey (almost) says: Only you can kill it with fire.

  • That's OK (Score:5, Funny)

    by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:02PM (#41919089) Journal

    I only pay for applications with bad money instead of good money, so I'm fine with the ads.

  • Just... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:04PM (#41919117)
    send Microsoft your monthly Internet bill, so they can pay for the bandwidth those ads use.
  • Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:05PM (#41919131) Homepage
    This kind of caught me off guard too. The music App started showing me ads, and not just little images off to the side, but full screen videos asking me to sign up for a subscription. I thought that the :"Music" app was what I was supposed to use to listen to the music I already owned. Not some nagware that tried to convince me to buy more music off the MS specific store. I promptly removed the music from my desktop after that and just went to download Winamp, since WMP and the new music app were completely unable to play FLAC files anyway. I can't see how MS isn't going to get in trouble for this one. If they got in trouble for doing it with browsers, which were mostly free anyway, even before they started including them, just think of how Apple is going to react to MS embedding a music store in the OS, or Steam is going to react to adding a games store in the OS.
    • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by WilliamGeorge ( 816305 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:17PM (#41919299)

      Disclaimer: I don't like ads; in fact, I generally hate them.

      However...

      Do you think Apple doesn't 'embed' a music store in their OS? Doesn't iTunes come pre-installed on both MacOS and iOS?

      • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Informative)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:20PM (#41919351) Homepage

        Do you think Apple doesn't 'embed' a music store in their OS? Doesn't iTunes come pre-installed on both MacOS and iOS?

        Yeah, but neither the iTunes player nor the store show me ads.

        You launch the music player, you play music. You launch the music store, and it will show you stuff to buy.

        This is ads embedded in the native apps ... which is a whole different thing.

        • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Insightful)

          by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @01:02PM (#41920005)

          Do you think Apple doesn't 'embed' a music store in their OS? Doesn't iTunes come pre-installed on both MacOS and iOS?

          Yeah, but neither the iTunes player nor the store show me ads.

          You launch the music player, you play music. You launch the music store, and it will show you stuff to buy.

          This is ads embedded in the native apps ... which is a whole different thing.

          Of course iTunes does -- the whole right column in the display is ads trying to get you to buy music related to what you've got, or complete the album the music is from, etc ...

          • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:4, Insightful)

            by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @01:11PM (#41920157) Homepage

            Of course iTunes does -- the whole right column in the display is ads trying to get you to buy music related to what you've got, or complete the album the music is from, etc ...

            Which is trivially collapsed and never seen again.

            TFA is talking about full page ads, and the weather application showing ads for hair products.

            As I said, a whole different thing.

      • Re:Kind of sleezy (Score:5, Informative)

        by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:24PM (#41919411) Homepage
        Yeah, but I can use iTunes, I've used it often. It has the feature to buy music. It has not once shown me a full screen ad asking my to buy music. In fact, at least as I recall from using it on Windows, if you don't click on the store, which is a small thing on the left hand side, you never see the store. Whereas the "Music" app from Microsoft, is basically a store with the added feature of being able to play some music. If you want to listen to your own music, you have to scroll the screen to the left, which for most people is completely unintuitive because most people would assume you already start out on the far left of a horizontally scrollable interface, not some weird place in the middle. Also, Apple is not in a monopoly position, and Microsoft is, so that changes the rules a bit.
        • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @01:25PM (#41920347)

          You should really think of the Music App as Spotify that can also play your local music. It's really designed to be used with the subscription, hence the overt push to use it as such.

          When you use it as a glorified Spotify + Hard Drive MP3s the UI works pretty smoothly. A search for music returns either your music or streaming music. If you choose a Pandora style mix it uses again both your own music and the internet service.

          If you just want a pure "play my music" the UI is atrocious.

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:24PM (#41919405) Homepage Journal

      just think of how Apple is going to react to MS embedding a music store in the OS, or Steam is going to react to adding a games store in the OS.

      Valve has already published its reaction to the Windows Store in Windows 8. See stories from late July [slashdot.org] and late October [slashdot.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:06PM (#41919143)

    I guess Tanenbaum will have to add a new chapter to the next printing of his Operating Systems textbook.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#41919189)

    You paid MS to license Windows8. You didn't buy a copy. Ergo, you are agreeing to pay MS a specified sum of money to view ads which happen to come with programs that you can also use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#41919191)

    Is there, or has there ever been, ANY reason why you would put Windows 8 on a desktop or laptop? There's not a single positive new feature or advantage of it that I've heard of. And I'm being serious, I really haven't heard one thing it does new or better than 7.

    Phones/Tablets, I can understand, but why would you on a desktop or laptop?

    • by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples&gmail,com> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:16PM (#41919289) Homepage Journal

      Is there, or has there ever been, ANY reason why you would put Windows 8 on a desktop or laptop?

      Because the store no longer sells computers with Windows 7 perhaps?

    • by TheRealMindChild ( 743925 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:47PM (#41919799) Homepage Journal
      You really really want a tickless kernel?
    • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @01:38PM (#41920603)

      I installed it on an old XP machine. Why? It was suffering from Windows rot and so I needed to re-install Windows. Installing XP seemed silly, so I went looking for a downloadable copy of 7. I found Microsofts seemingly "too good to be true" offer of $40 for 8, so I downloaded and installed it.

      Yikes, what a mess. The "guts" are fine - it seems exactly like Windows 7. But the interface is going to go down as a "teachable moment" at colleges, I think. It is quite literally two completely separate GUIs crudely duct-taped together. It's a lot like running a virtualized instance of another OS on a separate screen. The one side is mostly unaware of what the other side is doing. They even have two totally separate "control panels" now.

      In XP I used to run a utility that let me hit a button and start typing the name of the application I wanted to run, and then enter. Vista and 7 had this built-in when you hit the Windows key. Now, the Windows key brings up the Start Screen, and while you can still start typing, the results come up in a separate area and you need to click on them. So now I'm back to a utility that lets me quick-start applications! Full circle.

      Oh, and file transfers are now counted in "files per second" rather than "megabytes per second". I certainly hope some MS engineers resigned in disgust over that little change.

      So to answer your question... no, there is no reason to put Windows 8 on a desktop or laptop. And it looks to me like even a Surface would be a pain in the ass. There's no file browser on the full-screen side, so you still have to poke around in Windows Explorer with your finger. Control Panel is still necessary, since not all settings are available in the full-screen side - so you have to poke around with your finger there as well. I know that Windows has had tablet versions almost forever, but they all really needed a stylus.

    • by Jackie_Chan_Fan ( 730745 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @04:14PM (#41923395)

      Windows 8 is actually a very very good OS, despite the underdeveloped windows App portion. The ui that blends desktop and "modern ui" (apps) is actually very well done. Its a very efficient OS, the problem is that MS as usual, has put out a great idea, that is not well supported or developed to perfection. This is what Apple is so good at. Apple tends to focus on the user experience, and Microsoft focuses on the tech idea, but not fulfilling the experience.

      Windows 8 is technically an amazing OS. It is FASTER than windows 7. It is leaner, lighter, smoother, and integrates touch interface/app with desktop app space. It does it extremely well, considering how ambitious of an idea it is. MS really deserves credit for what they're trying to do. They're breaking new ground and doing it very well.

      However its not perfect. The OS is technically solid.. but the experience has yet to be fully realized, and therefore the user is does not get what he or she expects out of visionary idea MS has put forth.

  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff@@@gmail...com> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:10PM (#41919193) Homepage Journal

    From Microsoft Wallet.

  • by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:12PM (#41919231) Homepage Journal

    One more reason to exercise "down"grade rights.

  • by 1800maxim ( 702377 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:14PM (#41919257)
    I have dual boot Ubuntu and XP. Ubuntu is taking the spot as my main OS more and more lately, and XP is there just for legacy apps.

    My wife likes Linux, though has XP on her dying laptop.

    We were considering going OS X and MacBook, but Apple's stringent control is to the liking of neither of us (and she's the opposite of a techie). And the rumour of moving to ARM?

    Thus, when her laptop dies, she'll get a new one with either Ubuntu or Mint, and our move to the next, new, modern operating system will bypass the Windows "ecosystem" altogether.

    P.S. Oh yeah, both our iPhones will be replaced by Android...
  • by Farmer Pete ( 1350093 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:15PM (#41919271)
    You paid money for the OS. When an OS component has an ad, feel free to get angry. In the meantime, get over it. You don't have to use Microsoft free software. You can choose to download your own. Hell, this is Slashdot, you should be making your own, releasing the source, and publishing it to the Microsoft Store. Anyone who's unboxed a new computer will know that this is true. You just paid ______ computer company $____ for a computer! How dare they install advertisements, trialware, and crap software on your computer! Same issue, different company.
    • by fa2k ( 881632 ) <<pmbjornstad> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:52PM (#41919857)

      There was a better distinction between OS and applications on Win 7 and before; you could download Skype and MSN messenger which had ads, but they didn't come with the OS. The only ad in Windows 7 was "Anytime Upgrade" and that was well hidden in the control panel, so I accepted that even with strong dislike of ads in important software.Thankfully I'm now on Fedora Linux (and considering BSD), and don't have to worry about this

      • by Farmer Pete ( 1350093 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @03:23PM (#41922605)
        If the OP was making the argument that Microsoft shouldn't include value add applications with the OS, than this would be a valid argument. The fact that Microsoft bundled some advertisement funded apps with their OS isn't a big deal. You can choose to use them or not use them. It's not a component of the OS any more than Minesweeper is. If you don't like it, download or build your own apps.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:16PM (#41919291) Homepage Journal
    Consider it an extra hint about what you're supposed to do with all the crapware they install on your computer the moment you start it up. None of the shit that comes with Windows or OEM bundles is worth the price you paid for it, so just tilt it all into the shredder and go out and find windows ports of all the free Linux apps that provide better functionality without all the bullshit.
  • by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:17PM (#41919305)

    They're so targeted to my interests, it actually adds value to the experience? It makes it easier and more intuitive to find the products I need? The costs would otherwise be passed on to the consumer?

    Fuck you.

  • by dclozier ( 1002772 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:26PM (#41919443)
    It's bad ideas like this that will help propel the Android desktop. Now that Valve is diving into Linux and Nvidia is optimizing for it as well it wouldn't surprise me to see a decent challenge to Windows in the near future. Multiple "app" stores, streamlined gaming, built in virus protection (not that it's _that_ problematic) and familiar with millions of people already using Android on their cellphones. (branding makes a difference in retail)
    • by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:49PM (#41919815)

      It's bad ideas like this that will help propel the Android desktop. Now that Valve is diving into Linux and Nvidia is optimizing for it as well it wouldn't surprise me to see a decent challenge to Windows in the near future.

      Valve's focus at this point is standard Linux, not Google's incompatible platform.

      built in virus protection (not that it's _that_ problematic)

      Classic viruses aren't the problem now. These days it's all trojans run by unsuspecting users.

  • What ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:28PM (#41919481)

    I haven't noticed any ads, myself.

    Of course, the first thing I did after I installed Windows 8 was install classic shell and disable metro entirely, so maybe that's why. ^_^.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:31PM (#41919533)
    Microsoft needs to steadily increase its profits in order to prevent its stagnant stock price from declining. With the diminishing demand for PCs and the resulting demand for the Windows OS, Microsoft needs to find other ways to pull money into the company. Selling ads is one way to do that.
    .

    The question is --- With Apple and Google cleaning Microsoft's clock in the mobile world, at what point will the value of Windows be reduced to the point that it is just another delivery medium for ads?

  • by Gordo_1 ( 256312 ) on Thursday November 08, 2012 @12:55PM (#41919917)

    I paid $15 for the OS upgrade (before they fixed the loophole in their upgrade promo site), just to see what all the commotion was about. Upgrade went fairly smooth considering I did the unthinkable and actually tried to upgrade a Microsoft OS without starting from scratch (I imaged my boot drive ahead of time just in case).

    I played around with the Modern UI apps for the first day or so, smirked at the not-so-subtly placed ads, installed Classic Shell and haven't bothered to go back to the Modern UI since. The Modern UI truly has no place on a desktop computer... or anything without a touchscreen for that matter. It's a consumption-oriented tablet UI that probably excels at keeping you occupied during an extended shit session. I'll stick to the desktop and benefit from Win8's tighter security and streamlined bootup/shutdown. With a couple tweaks, it's like a really well made service pack for Win7.

  • Fromt the Wikipedia page on Windows Phone: [wikipedia.org]

    Microsoft's General Manager for Strategy and Business Development, Kostas Mallios, said that Windows Phone will be an "ad-serving machine", pushing advertising and brand-related content to the user.

    It looks like this is a core component of Redmond's business plan in all their OS offerings.

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