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Windows 7 Desktops Will Host 3rd-Party Ads

Is it a step towards a free OS? That may or may not be the case with a decision by Microsoft to sell desktop real estate in Windows 7. The advertisements, announced over the weekend, will come in the form of sponsored desktop themes from the likes of Twentieth Century Fox, Porsche, Coca-Cola, Infinity, and more. Currently the upcoming program is in beta, with plans to roll out the official version in October 2010.

There will be two versions of the advert-laced themes. The first type, Windows Theme Experience, is a collection of add-ons and gadgets for Windows 7 and Windows Vista; it can also apply to Internet Explorer 8 and Microsoft's websites. This program allows the advertiser to offer backgrounds, audio, and gadgets. Windows Personalization Gallery, the other advertising program, lets advertisers provide OS specific items such as slide shows, borders, desktop backgrounds, and application audio elements. 

"The new Windows Theme Experience and Windows Personalization Gallery in Windows 7 allow consumers to customize their technology to reflect the things in life they are most passionate about," said Darren Huston, corporate vice president of the Consumer & Online organization at Microsoft. "These are great examples of Microsoft innovation and technology coming together to enable top global brands to reach audiences in new and interesting ways."

Microsoft said that the Windows Theme Experience and Windows Personalization Gallery are available globally, and various themes can be viewed by heading here. Obviously Microsoft isn't forcing advertisements down the throats of its consumers.  However, this may be a step in that eventual direction.

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  • winner4455
    Wait... Are you telling me that we can now get wallpapers for your favorite game/band/etc OFFICIALLY??? =o
    Reply
  • ElectroGoofy
    When I read the headline, I thought "Oh man, they better not..." but when I read that it was through optional themes, as in wallpapers and stuff, that is completely OK with me. I don't like the idea that it could possibly lead to mandatory ads, though.
    Reply
  • WINTERLORD
    well once everyone buys it and they rake in there profit maybe they will just give it free toeveryone and instead of having a uac it will be an add pop up yes or no choice... wtf
    Reply
  • pocketdrummer
    I'll never obtain a copy of Windows legally again if they put ads on my desktop without my consent, or if more apps have ads due to this than those that do not...

    Reply
  • SAL-e
    If I remember Apple got the patent for that! It will be interesting to watch the fight from the side line! LOL
    Reply
  • seraphimcaduto
    You mean the couple hundred we pay for the OS isn't enough?!
    Reply
  • JMS3096
    Jeez, RTFA....this is about optional wallpapers and stuff for a product you like- for example, I LIKE my official, high-resolution Ferrari theme.
    Reply
  • cabose369
    They can't do that! They would be sued by Apple because Apple patented putting ads in their OS remember???
    Reply
  • It's already set in stone, it WILL be forced on you eventually... Linux FTW IMHO...
    Reply
  • yrmoma
    Is it ever enough?
    Reply