The Price of Free Windows 10: Microsoft Adds Lockscreen Ads to New OSThe Price of Free Windows 10: Microsoft Adds Lockscreen Ads to New OS
Microsoft Windows 10 has now become the first desktop operating system to be supported by full-screen ads. That's following news that some Windows 10 users are seeing advertisements on their PC lock screens for the first time.
February 29, 2016
Microsoft Windows 10 has now become the first desktop operating system to be supported by full-screen ads. That’s following news that some Windows 10 users are seeing advertisements on their PC lock screens for the first time.
Microsoft indicated a while ago that these types of ads would appear in Windows 10. But it didn’t unveil them until a few days ago, when, as ExtremeTech reports, the company started displaying full-screen ads for a video game on the lock screen of some Windows 10 systems.
The feature is easy to turn off in Windows 10 settings if you don’t want to see the ads. It’s also not an especially novel type of strategy.
Other types of ads have already appeared in Windows 10, notably in the Start menu. And other devices, like Amazon’s Kindles, have been making hearty use of lockscreen ads for years.
Still, the latest Microsoft move is notable because it’s the first time that full-screen ads are being enabled by default for a desktop operating system. It’s a reminder that, even though Windows 10 is (more or less) free of cost, the tradeoff is that users will see a lot of ads.
In many ways, the change suggests that the desktop OS is now going the way of the Web: Content is being provided for free in exchange for prolific ads. We’re guessing most users won’t much care, because they have become so used to this model.
But given the privacy controversy that already surrounds Windows 10, more ads won’t help Microsoft to assuage users who complain that the OS collects too much information about them (since that information is presumably used to help serve ads, among other things). And they certainly won’t please people who yearn for the good old days, when the economics of operating systems were simple: You paid for software, and that was that.
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