Microsoft opens Windows 7 to advertisers
Dolly Parton sings for IE 8
Microsoft has cracked open Windows 7 to commercial sponsorship with desktop themes from advertisers.
The company Friday announced desktops from Ducati, Infiniti, Porsche, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Twentieth Century Fox under a pilot program that'll run until next October.
Microsoft also created its own Windows 7 themes for Xbox Gears of War, Zune, and Bing. You can check out the first crop of advertisers' themes here.
Microsoft said the themes will provide "a robust sponsorship opportunity" that'll extend to Windows 7 borders and sounds, gadgets and Internet Explorer 8 add-ons that ultimately send people to the advertiser's home page.
Microsoft is also touting ad space for companies on its MSN and Windows Live properties.
The company said in a statement the Windows themes would let consumers customize their technology "to reflect the things in life they are most passionate about" - as long as that's Porches, sugary fizzy drinks, and films. The announcement drew support from advertisers who spoke in terms of opportunities for their brands to engage with people.
Microsoft first touted the idea of ads in your software a few years back, and last month announced Office 2010 Starter Edition, a functionally limited version of the forthcoming Office 2010 that'll only be available pre-loaded on new PCs and be will funded by advertising.
Microsoft has recruited country-music queen Dolly Parton to promote IE 8 among the red-state, Opry-loving, web-surfing demographic. In a delightfully self-deprecating performance, Parton talks up Web Slices in the latest entry of her YouTube video diary.
Parton admits to not knowing a gigabyte from a snake bite, or that there were versions of IE 1 through 7. She signs off with a sly wink about needing to go check her email. Tip of the hat to ReadWriteWeb for spotting Parton, here. ®
A little late?
Haven't all of these themes been available for three weeks? Little late for this announcement, methinks...
Paris, 'cause she takes all precautions to ensure she's never late.
Glad I left MS some years ago
Glad I left MS some years ago....Yeah, I admitt the poo-brown color of the default Ubuntu desktop and theme is kinda bland, but the system sure has a lot of positives going for it, among them now I can add
Not having to listen to some crazy old lady injected up with 5 gallons of Botox from Tennessee belting out some campy southern tunes...yeah, I am a deep-blue stater where the classical music stations way outnumber the country and western ones...
@ Chris 68
You wrote :-
"Yes, another misunderstood feature, and in wade the expert commenters, all guns blazing, with the predictable comments about "switching to linux" and spelling Microsoft with a $. So if you don't want a themed desktop, don't download it."
Will anyone understand it until we see it in practice? The fact is Microsoft have got themselves into a position such that a significant proportion of us are deeply suspicious of every new project they announce. Microsoft have only themselves to blame for this serious breakdown in their public image.
The concern here is that these themes may be rammed down our thoats whether we ask for them or not. In other words the worry is that adverts may come with Windows whether you download a theme or not, as they currently do with most Websites (the latter is not MS's fault, just in case you think I'm claiming it is).
Eg : No downloaded theme? Then you get a stock theme with ads based on your browsing history."
As for spelling Microsoft with a $, that is not inappropriate in this context, which is about a spivvy money-making scheme. I don't make it a habit of it myself though.