Windows users are accustomed to the fact that the Microsoft’s operating system is teeming with ads. The ads are not conventional. They are essentially pop-ups that appear advertising its new features or apps like Microsoft Edge, the web browser that no one uses.
Now, it seems like Microsoft will be pushing real ads. By real ads we mean that they will give permission to third parties to put up their ads. It is a calculated tradeoff to allow the company to sell cheaper PCs.
Job openings at Microsoft spotted by ZDNet are looking for engineers to join the the “Windows Incubation team” that will “move Windows to a place that combines the benefits of the cloud and Microsoft 365 to offer more compute resources on demand and creates a hybrid app model that spans from on-premises to the cloud.”
ZDNet’s reports that the job posting also boasted about providing “low-cost PCs powered through advertising and subscriptions,” but it looks like that part has since been removed.
This is not as surprising as people would think. The company launched its subscription-based Windows 365 service last year, which combines a suite of Microsoft software in a virtual computer in the cloud. Microsoft’s ads are appearing on that platform too.
Its latest operating system Windows 11 was not so graciously and widely accepted as they would have liked. However, it also showed ads in its File Explorer.
Microsoft has also proudly declared that its technology is powering Netflix’s first ad-supported subscription tier.
All these practices indicate the arrival of a pivot anytime now. It’s something that Amazon’s Kindles have been doing for years. The computers may be cheaper, but they’ll be less pure operating systems that do what you tell them to do and more whatever Microsoft wants you to do with them. This means that it will not be long before the advertising through the platform gets wrapped in gloom and anxiety.