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Windows Ad Edition Could Be Free

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 28 comments

A free, ad-based version of Windows may already be in the making., if not completed.

Talk of a free edition of Microsoft's Windows OS isn't anything new: the idea has been around since 2005 at the very least. However, Stephen Chapman of MSFTKitchen seems the think the free edition is closer to reality than ever before, especially with businesses pushing to move software into the cloud. After a little digging, he discovered that an actual ad-based version of Windows has actually been created.

The latest finding stems around the LinkedIn profile of a senior program manager at Microsoft. In her "resume," she lists a prototype for advertising model in Windows called "Project Madision," and is supposedly not the same code name used for SQL 2010. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley added her two cents to the speculation, pointing out that Madision (and yes it's misspelled, probably on purpose) may be derived from Madison Avenue in Manhattan: the name of this street is "synonymous with the American advertising industry," says Wikipedia.

If Microsoft is still pursuing the ad-based version, this could alleviate some of the problems with Windows-based piracy, or consumers intent on spreading their one license across multiple computers (via crack). But how would this work? How would Microsoft make revenue out of a free edition? "In theory, you could use a "Windows Ads Edition" or something where you’ve basically opted for ads to stream to you in exchange for your usage of Windows," Chapman surmised.

The idea isn't farfetched. Businesses would certainly scramble to get their ad on millions of Windows-based desktops, and Microsoft would simply float in a sea of money. Naturally, consumers who actually purchase a version of Windows wouldn't receive the ad-based input. Instead, it would be locked on to those individuals who can't afford-- or refuse-- to purchase a copy of Windows, but still want to use the OS in a legal, non-pirating sense.

Would you use a free, ad-based edition of Windows?

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Top Comments
  • 19 Hide
    The Dark Wall , April 7, 2010 1:59 AM
    ^Isn't hacking the ad version pretty much the same as downloading illegally a non-ad version? Why go with the ads in the first place then?
  • 18 Hide
    jakew120 , April 7, 2010 2:01 AM
    When buying a manufactured PC your OS is already has a ton of advertising on it.
  • 18 Hide
    mrdrinkinglysol , April 7, 2010 1:41 AM
    I wonder how long it will take people to hack it and remove the ads.
Other Comments
    Display all 28 comments.
  • 18 Hide
    mrdrinkinglysol , April 7, 2010 1:41 AM
    I wonder how long it will take people to hack it and remove the ads.
  • 19 Hide
    The Dark Wall , April 7, 2010 1:59 AM
    ^Isn't hacking the ad version pretty much the same as downloading illegally a non-ad version? Why go with the ads in the first place then?
  • 18 Hide
    jakew120 , April 7, 2010 2:01 AM
    When buying a manufactured PC your OS is already has a ton of advertising on it.
  • 9 Hide
    jasonz001 , April 7, 2010 2:19 AM
    yes i would use it. Its free windows.
  • 6 Hide
    SAL-e , April 7, 2010 2:56 AM
    I wonder, if Steve Jobs going to sue MS!? If I remember correctly Apple got a patent on the AdWare-OS.
  • 2 Hide
    gmarsack , April 7, 2010 3:04 AM
    I would use it.. I just spent 300 bucks on my copy of Win7 Ultimate... and I have 5 other PC's in the house I want to upgrade. I'd take a free version any day!
  • 3 Hide
    dimar , April 7, 2010 3:07 AM
    MS can make a really basic windows OS for free. They can remove stuff such as themes and other apps. Maybe leave the most basic networking features.
    They can limit the number of applications it can run at once to 5, if you enable adds, you can have more features, like Home Basic edition...
  • 0 Hide
    pythy , April 7, 2010 3:41 AM
    Who really looks at the ads anyway? I've never in my life bought anything from the ads on websites and........ Office 2007 Home and Student for $150 bucks!! I'm in!!
  • 0 Hide
    ptroen , April 7, 2010 3:52 AM
    Possibly too little too late. For instance, Reactos is a open source Windows clone and ad free. www.reactos.org. Also, google has their own OS coming out and of course you have the many flavours of BSD/Linux. The big question is who would benifit from a ad version of windows?

  • -1 Hide
    salimbest83 , April 7, 2010 4:47 AM
    AddBlock Plus is our savior ;) 
  • 2 Hide
    pojih , April 7, 2010 5:11 AM
    student pricing on pro = 40$

    first time I've paid for windows since 95
  • 1 Hide
    randomizer , April 7, 2010 5:15 AM
    I can see it working in the corporate world, and on some home PCs, but for the most part this will have zero impact on piracy rates. If people who already don't pay for Windows want to continue to get Windows for free I'm sure they're going to get it without ads.
  • 0 Hide
    eddieroolz , April 7, 2010 6:47 AM
    I'd pay more just to get rid of the ads.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 7, 2010 11:35 AM
    I wonder what would happen if you dont have internet on the PC, or if you set all their ad servers to localhost in the hosts file.. Can you really cripple windows anymore than adding ads to it?
  • -1 Hide
    zak_mckraken , April 7, 2010 1:35 PM
    This version could be very useful in public "hot spots" where licensing might be a problem. However, I'm not sure the average home user will like it's desktop looking like a hockey arena.
  • -1 Hide
    p3t3or , April 7, 2010 1:56 PM
    When I was younger (and broke), I'd consider this. However, the Ad version does not currently have a place for me. Though, my parent's machine seems to think they have an illegal copy (they do not), and the Ad version might be a solution to that.
  • -1 Hide
    digiex , April 7, 2010 2:40 PM
    If this becomes a reality, I'll welcome it with open arms, why? I'm in an I-cafe business...
  • 0 Hide
    martel80 , April 7, 2010 2:49 PM
    The problem is that the OS gets pirated mostly in low income locations where it does not make much sense to advertise brand-name products. Why should advertisers pay for marketing coverage of people who can't afford to buy their products?

    This might, however, be good for free internet kiosks to pay for connection and computers.
  • 0 Hide
    v1ze , April 7, 2010 3:36 PM
    couldn't you theoretically block the ads with your hosts file? assuming they would be web based
  • 0 Hide
    sliem , April 7, 2010 3:37 PM
    I would use it as well, as long as an ad doesn't pop up every 5 minutes.
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