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Advertising Windows

Microsoft Now Uses Windows 10's Start Menu To Display Ads ( 578

Mark Wilson writes: We've all become used to the idea of ads online — it's something that has become part and parcel of using the internet — but in Windows? If you've updated to build 10565 of Windows 10, you're in for something of a surprise: the Start menu is now being used to display ads. We're not talking about ads for Viagra, porn, or anything like that, but ads for apps. Of course, Microsoft is not describing them as ads; 'Suggested apps' has a much more approachable and fluffy feel to it. Maybe. This is a 'feature' that's currently only being shown to Windows Insiders, but it could spread to everyone else. Will it be well-received?
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Microsoft Now Uses Windows 10's Start Menu To Display Ads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:26AM (#50735383)

    That's why it's "free". They're getting their money by selling you.

    • by dAzED1 ( 33635 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:47AM (#50735627) Homepage Journal
      and just how is it that you secure a product that is constantly talking to systems on the internet, and doesn't have a way to disable such communication? An early beta of Win10 did this as well, I saw it - I was just curious what Win10 looked like, so I put it on something. After seeing that, I quickly removed it and any thought I'd ever use Windows for anything ever again.
      • by LVSlushdat ( 854194 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:33AM (#50736111)

        I have a small side business (me and two other techs) doing Windows cleanup and upgrades of older systems still on XP over to XUbuntu. Since about 2011, we've done over 30 such systems, and in most cases, before the upgrade our phone number was on the customers speeddial, due to constant malware infestations.. We rarely hear from those folks anymore... Since Windows 10 has come out, we've had several customers who bought brandnew systems at a big-box store come to us and ask about what they'd heard about Windows 10 and its blabbing everything to MS... We showed them several traffic analysis done on an "uncastrated" copy of Win10. In both cases, the owners opted for us to install Linux on their systems. I told them that we *could* run some tools that would disable the especially blatant spying aspects, but there was ZERO assurance that MS would not come out with an update that would roll our "castration" back... Our recommendation was to stop using MS products if the customer had ANY concerns about privacy and Microsoft...

    • by BradleyUffner ( 103496 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @12:10PM (#50736453) Homepage

      Does this apply to Linux too?

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      Is the ad tied to a live tile for the store? Most app stores showcase apps in their store app and Live Tiles show updated I would suspect that these "ads" are really just the store live tile showing the content. [I haven't read the article and I'm not running the update.]

  • Yet (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:26AM (#50735393)

    We're not talking about ads for Viagra, porn, or anything like that, but ads for apps.

    First displaying some app advertisements is a nice slippery slope to later transform it to a vehicle delivering all sorts of advertisements.

    • Re:Yet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:46AM (#50735611)

      Not surprising. Had to install Win10 yesterday to test compatibility with some legacy software. What a complete and utter clusterfuck. The amount of telemetry/spying intrusion that Microsoft expects users to accept without question is...staggering. Just trying to keep the firewall and defender off was a major endeavor. And travel/sports/etc. embedded in the OS I paid for to generated revenue via tracking? Facepalm.

      And that's the thing, they could have tons of spyware by default and those stupid enough to allow the spying deserve what they get. The problem is automatically turning everything back on after I've made the choice to turn it off/uninstall. And that includes the whole force-fed updates issue.

      My humble prediction is that Win10 is going to get much worse beyond just injecting ads into the start menu. So much so that even Aunt Sally is going to get the willies. Most of us know how oblivious Aunt Sally is to this stuff so that will be an accomplishment.

      And what will Microsoft do in response? Make up some official sounding names (like WGA) and try to stuff even more shit down the throats of anyone stupid enough to use the OS.

      Having said all that, they're obviously testing the waters to see how much shit people will eat then back off. The problem is that there are real alternatives now for the consumer, not like back in the monopoly days.

      Bitch about the arrogance of Apple all you want. Microsoft is way worse, they taking coupling arrogance with incompetence to whole new level.

      • Sooooooo nice to see somebody else who sees Win10 for what it is... I moved all my systems over to Linux when I retired in 2010... Could'nt be happier..

    • The ads are the least of your worries.

      Someone will find an exploit (maybe an intentional function put there "just for testing/troubleshooting/essential updates") and the shit will really hit the fan.

  • by Cajun Hell ( 725246 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:27AM (#50735405) Homepage Journal

    It'll be years before XFCE gets this. By the time we get ads, everyone else will be all "yeah whatever, anachronistic loser."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... but not in our dreams!

  • Cannot reproduce (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rhywden ( 1940872 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:30AM (#50735451)

    Updated both my desktop and my laptop to build 10565 and am not seeing those suggested apps.

    • Are you trying to be reasonable again? Look, with your UID, you should know better.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aristofeles ( 763926 )
        Personalization, start, "Occasionally show suggestions...". Off by default for me. But I can turn ON. And it appears. How dare MS let me turn on an option for ads!!!
        • by Teckla ( 630646 )

          Personalization, start, "Occasionally show suggestions...". Off by default for me. But I can turn ON. And it appears. How dare MS let me turn on an option for ads!!!

          It was ON by default for me, though I don't recall having seen any suggestions (yet?).

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It looks like you have to be signed in to the Microsoft app store to see them.

      Microsoft has started being a bit shitty with ads lately. I used to have OneNote for Android installed, but every time it updated it would generate a spam notification. The normal blocking mechanism didn't get rid of it, so I uninstalled.

    • Microsoft has set an unfortunate precedent with this sort of thing with their Xbox consoles. I own a 360, and about 2/3 of the real estate is taken up by advertisements, and they're even shoving ads during listings and search results in-between things you're trying to find. It's sort of disgusting. Honestly, it's one of the reasons I'm still not on the next gen consoles, and am leaning more towards a PS4 first, even though I vastly prefer the Xbox controller.

      I'm using Windows 10 right now, but I'm keepin

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by Guspaz ( 556486 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:32AM (#50735473) []

    It's free. I installed it when I got tired of the Win10 start menu lag (if you press the start key and begin typing, the Win10 start menu will delay opening just long enough to miss one or two keystrokes).

  • Download [] it and get rid of that ridiculous start menu that comes default with Windows 10
  • by donaggie03 ( 769758 ) <> on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:34AM (#50735499)
    I don't care what features they throw in, as long as they also let me disable it somehow.
  • Hypocrites. (Score:5, Informative)

    by technomom ( 444378 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:35AM (#50735521)

    Hypocrites. []

  • Speak for yourself (Score:5, Insightful)

    by An ominous Cow art ( 320322 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:36AM (#50735529) Journal

    We've all become used to the idea of ads online

    It's pretty obvious that many of us are not used to the idea, and block them completely.

    • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

      In the future, you'll just need to get an ad blocker for your operating system. Since secure boot will be mandatory and you won't have permission to alter the start menu, it will be a piece of black tape.

    • by Toad-san ( 64810 )

      Hear hear! I will NOT tolerate ads online, and I certainly won't tolerate them on my own damned PC desktop.

  • Games are the only reason I still run Windows. I suspect that when my current machine dies I'll be buying a PS4 and going to Linux for everything else.
  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:43AM (#50735591) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who's a gamer has seen this enough that it's become invisible. The XBox Dashboard is ~50% user-space and 50% new product promotion.

    • That's why my XBox 360 got disconnected from the network, and why I'll never own an XBone.

      Suddenly my video games had ads inside of them. Sorry, not interested.

      My XBox 360 got disconnected from the network, and has never been connected since. And unless they've significantly changed the new version, it sounds like you need either a constant or a frequent internet connection. In which case I don't want one.

      I don't want a gaming console with an internet connection if it means ads and analytics. And if our

  • AdBlocker OS edition.
  • Can be disabled (Score:5, Informative)

    by RogueyWon ( 735973 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @10:50AM (#50735661) Journal

    For the moment, at least, you can turn this off. Indeed, you can turn off more of the Windows 10 start menu nastiness than is initially apparent and get back to something fairly civilised without third party addons. For now.

    In its current form, it's not completely catastrophic even if you don't disable it. It's significantly less intrusive than the advertising you get on the top-level menus on the PS4, Wii-U and, in particular, Xbox One.

    The worry, of course, is about the slippery slope. Look at how advertising has flooded over the menus on the Xbox series:

    - Basically absent on the original Xbox and the first-gen Xbox 360 UI.
    - Present but subdued on the second-gen 360 UI.
    - Completely dominant on the third-gen 360 UI (at the cost of useful navigation features that were present in the second-gen).
    - A major presence on the Xbox One.

    Actually, now I'm wondering whether my ability to disable the advertising in Win10 has been because I'm both on Professional rather than Home and on an OEM license purchased with a new PC rather than a free upgrade. Anybody applied this patch on the Home edition or a free upgrade yet?

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      when you run the upgrade on windows 7 pro you get windows 10 pro for free.

      • I know, but with Microsoft's apparent determination to explicitly place different value on different users this time around (eg. on the ability to defer upgrades), I was wondering whether there was any kind of differentiation between "free upgrade" and "purchased OEM license" Win10 Pro users.

        Nothing would surprise me any more.

    • Re:Can be disabled (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ilsaloving ( 1534307 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:21AM (#50735997)

      "For now" is the key term here.

      Microsoft has set a very bad precedent with this, and I don't see it improving anytime soon. All of their other privacy invading features are on by default, and some of which *cannot* be shut down unless you are using the enterprise version (cause if Microsoft tried to pull the same stunt against big business, they'd be sued into oblivion)

      This whole situation is absolutely BEGGING for a class action lawsuit. Once again, Microsoft is abusing their monopoly status for their own gain.

      Looks like the new boss really is just like the old boss.

  • Early on, apps could actually be stopped from within the app in a normal way. They started phasing that out, and hell - at this point, if you start youtube the best you can do is pause the video. You can't actually kill it - without going into the application manager and hitting "force stop" which always gives you a warning message that you could damage your application by doing so. Give me some other bloody method of closing the app, then. I remember when Ingress went from having a close button, to add
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      then buy redhat linux, Debian, Slackware, or a BSD variant.

      Microsoft has never respected your privacy.

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        then buy redhat linux, Debian, Slackware, or a BSD variant.

        I tried, but neither Staples nor Best Buy carried laptops with those preinstalled, unless you count OS X on a MacBook Air as "a BSD variant".

    • I'm happy to pay a bit of money for an OS that doesn't invade my privacy, thanks.

      Come on over to Linux, the waters fine, and you won't have to pay anything for it, unless you go for Redhat's workstation version... Why anybody would, I'll never know...

  • If anyone doesn't like it then just replace the Microsoft start menu with Classic Shell, problem solved.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      > If anyone doesn't like it then just replace the Microsoft start menu with Classic Shell, problem solved.

      Don't you get tired of having to endlessly configure Windows? Can't it just work out of the box with sensible defaults, like other OSes?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by freeze128 ( 544774 )
        You customize EVERY OS out of the box, why should Windows be any different? Hell, I just updated my smart phone to Android Lollipop, and spent the next SEVERAL HOURS getting it customized.
  • by Sheik Yerbouti ( 96423 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:00AM (#50735763) Homepage

    The whole idea behind live tiles and the full screen interface that was in Windows 8 was that it was an ad. It was just cross promoting other Microsoft stuff. Bing Maps, Bing Finance, MSN, MS Store, Windows Mobile, Xbox etc... It was always about promoting Microsoft's other stuff in a full screen animated Ad. They alienated their users with a poorly thought out and designed UI including mystery meat navigation in the form of charms bars for the soul purpose of serving their cross promotional interests. Which is why in my opinion they didn't get nearly enough grief for the shenanigans.

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:00AM (#50735769)
    It looks like Win7 will be my last Windows. Maybe I'll just fire up the old XP box when I want to upgrade.
  • Let's pool our money together and buy a Start Menu ad for Linux.
  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:03AM (#50735825) Homepage

    I guess it's time to disable Windows Updates entirely on my Windows 8.1 desktop.

    Sorry, but no. Don't want crap like this, don't want Windows 10. It's my computer and not yours.

    None of their damned analytics, or telemtry, or ads, or other invasive shit they're doing.

    I might apply critical updates, but increasingly they've gone to great lengths to hide what the updates are really doing.

    I'll take my chances with a desktop behind a firewall that I don't run stupid shit on. But I fear it is no longer possible to trust Microsoft, or allow them to have their bullshit idea that it is their computer and they'll do as they please with it.

    I'll stick with my Windows 8.1 which has had Classic Shell installed and all of their romper-room interface crap turned off. Increasingly, I don't see any value in Windows 10 at all, and in fact I see it as hostile.

    Thanks, Microsoft. This will be my last Windows desktop unless I run it in a VM.

  • to Linux when Windows 8.1 or any subsequent version of Windows became a problem on her little laptop. We have Linux everywhere else, it makes no difference to her. I'm starting to think this might be the time.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:13AM (#50735913) Homepage Journal

    Will it be well-received?

    Rhetorical question, very much? When was the last time that people went on the street with signs reading "we want more advertisement"?

    The really interesting question is: How do they get this data, which data do they send to get it, and how long will it take until there is the first piece of malware advertisement?

    (you think if they limit it to featuring apps, that can't be exploited. You must be kidding. Firstly, someone will be smarter than you are and find a way. Secondly, what makes you so sure it will remain limited to featured apps?)

  • My problem is that I frikin' love MS OneNote on a convertible laptop/tablet with a real stylus. I've been hooked since about 2003. Nothing comparable is available with Linux.

  • Massive Omission (Score:3, Informative)

    by Revarg ( 4035425 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:35AM (#50736141)
    If you read the article it clearly shows that this is a feature that can be easily disabled. People are just looking for reasons to be angry.
  • We'll be living in the world of Max Headroom []:

    The series is set in a futuristic dystopia ruled by an oligarchy of television networks. Even the government functions primarily as a puppet state of the network executives, serving mainly to pass laws — such as banning "off" switches on televisions — that protect and consolidate the networks' power.

    And who controls the TV networks? Advertisers

  • by Scroatzilla ( 672804 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @11:50AM (#50736271) Homepage Journal

    It's weird that pro-Windows folks are saying "this isn't so bad," pointing out how easy it is to turn off. Why would my operating system recommend apps in the first place? Others are suggesting that "perhaps I'll find an app that I never would have noticed with these suggestions." When I have a need for functionality, I will actively research apps! Do Windows users really sit around waiting for "surprise apps"?

    IMHO, starting with Windows 8, Windows began transforming into a steaming cesspool of unusable crap. Recently, when faced with having to drop some money on a new computer, I switched from Windows to Mac. I'm not a fanboi, but because Windows started to dumb desktops down into the smartphone form factor, I figured: If I have to learn a new UI anyway, why not just switch? Now, I very much appreciate using an unobtrusive OS that lets me load files and run applications, and that also allows me to update the OS when I want to, at no additional cost.

    I'm still forced to use Win8 at work (we're completely entangled in Office365 now), and to support my wife's Win8 machine at home, and that is enough Windows for me.

  • You can opt out (Score:4, Informative)

    by vergeme ( 4296165 ) on Thursday October 15, 2015 @02:54PM (#50737759)
    I worked on this feature, it's designed to optimize engagement, not monetization. What's the difference? You can opt out if you don't want to see it. You can right click on the "Suggested App" and choose to not see the suggestions.

Real programmers don't write in BASIC. Actually, no programmers write in BASIC after reaching puberty.