Like its predecessor, Windows 10 is full of advertising. But unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 places ads directly in the user interface, and it’s gotten worse over time.
To be clear, Windows 10 is a tremendous product, and is in many ways the best version of Windows ever. Indeed, its ability to transform between traditional mouse/keyboard and tablet/2-in-1 functionality, and work well in either, is a testament to Microsoft’s deep understanding of its diverse user base.
And yet, Windows 10 also represents a tough moment for the Microsoft crowd.
As I’ve recounted many times, Microsoft far too aggressively pushed this upgrade on the hundreds of millions of people still using Windows 7 and 8.1, and I think it crossed the line in secretly and silently upgrading many against their will, and in haranguing those who refused to do so.
For those using Windows 10, the situation is equally dire: Through a strategy called Windows as a service, Microsoft is requiring users to regularly update and upgrade the OS, whether they want to or not. It is doing so for good reasons—keeping everyone up-to-date ensures a better overall level of quality, reliability, and security. But it is doing so poorly, and the many issues that we’ve seen over the past year—from minor problems related to the many monthly updates we’ve seen to the Titanic-like problems with the Anniversary Update—have led me to conclude that, in its current state, Windows as a service simply does not work.
Today, I’d like to address another issue facing Windows 10 users. I am referring of course to the steady increase in advertising that we’re seeing in the operating system.
Advertising in Windows isn’t new: Microsoft first started placing ads directly in Windows starting with Windows 8. Four years ago, at my old gig, I wrote a post called Microsoft Cheapens Windows 8 with Ads in which I explained, simply, “There are ads in Windows 8.”
As I predicted correctly at the time, apologists would try to explain away these ads by stating that they were not in the OS itself, as they were in apps like News and Weather, which were “in” Windows 8 but not “part of” Windows 8. Bullshit, I said, preemptively. But those apologists nonetheless did exactly that...