Just what you wanted with your new PC operating system: More on-screen ads.
When the first anniversary update to Windows 10 rolls out this summer, it will include more ads on the Start Menu screen advertising apps for sale in the Microsoft Store. Microsoft (MSFT) outlined the plan to add more ads in a recently released slide deck for hardware partners that was spotted by tech site Neowin and other outlets.
The number of ads, known as “programmable tiles” or “promoted apps” in Microsoft parlance, will rise to 10 from five in the current release, according to the slides. Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.
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This may be welcome news for people interested in seeing what apps are available, but many people who’ve just spent money on a new PC or an operating system upgrade will probably view these ads as an annoyance, sort of like the commercials that now run in movie theaters. Going perhaps a tad further, Neowin called the existing programmable tile ads “the most despised feature of Windows 10.”
Even if you don’t feel that strongly, this will likely be a controversial move because Microsoft has long been slammed for allowing third-party hardware makers to install ads and other “bloatware” on Windows PCs. The fact that Microsoft made it easier for Windows 10 users to re-install a pristine (i.e. bloatware free) version of the operating system shows it’s aware of a problem.
And negative consumer feedback about ads was supposedly one reason Microsoft decided to design and control its own Surface and Surface Pro hardware brands a few years ago. Third party PC makers like Dell, HP (HPQ), Toshiba et al. included on-screen ads and promotions as a way to make money while keeping the cost of their hardware low.
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Many folks who switched from Windows machines to Apple (AAPL) MacBooks cite the lack of comparable bloatware as one big benefit. Aside from being annoying, all that extraneous stuff can slow boot-up.
To be fair, the Microsoft slides stress that users can remove the promoted apps but you have to wonder why they should have to.