Things I would like to see in Windows 8 – Part 4 – an ad supported version of the operating system

Microsoft tends to (appropriately) release several different versions of their operating system when they release it.

Vista had multiple versions as did Windows 7 (Home Basic, Ultimate, Professional etc).

One of the consistent pieces of feedback I get on my sites from visitors all over the world is, if you don’t live in a developed country, Windows is unaffordable.

This is often the rational used by millions of people who use wares, cracks and serials to bypass Microsoft software protection.

So, just for sh*ts and giggles, wouldn’t it be cool if Microsoft had an ad supported version of their operating system that was (in essence) free?

They could call it Windows 8 Starter edition (a la Office 2010).

You would be able to install and set up Windows 8, log in and install programs as usual.

The catch? Well, your screen saver and desktop background would (on a schedule set by Microsoft) show ads or logos or branding of companies based on the geographical location you were at.

A copy of Windows 8 Starter Edition being used in Seattle for instance would show ads by Starbucks and local Seattle restaurants/businesses.

The ads would be persistent and baked into the OS and there would be no option to turn them off.

They would have to strike the right balance of showing ads and allowing the user to get their work done but it could be done.

It would work for everyone:

  • Microsoft could earn revenue off of each version of Windows 8 Starter they sold;
  • Advertisers would have a captive audience and could also advertise more cost efficiently and effectively based on geography;
  • Users would get a free copy of Windows and wouldn’t have to go without or look for hacks, warez or serials..

Now, I am a realist and I know that some rocket scientist out there would try and disable the ads just because.

But even with hacks and piracy factored in, I believe that it would still be a win/win for everyone involved.

What do you folks think?

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