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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