Ed Bott on the Ads in Windows 8

Ed Bott, “How Outraged Should You Be About Ads in Windows 8 Apps? Not at All”:

Paul and John are both mistaken. Those apps aren’t part of Windows 8. They are part of a separate Microsoft project specifically designed to create showcase apps that will “inspire Windows 8 app developers.” (I’ll get to those details later in this post.) Although I’m sure the head of the Online Services Division would love it if I were wrong, I am willing to bet those apps will not be money-making machines in and of themselves.

So here’s the amusing thing. Most of my online work is paid for by ads. Paul Thurrott’s newly redesigned Windows SuperSite (looks great, by the way) is paid for by ads. Gruber’s site is paid for (handsomely, if rumors are to be believed) by a single ad placed discreetly alongside the content on his blog, and by ads in his RSS feed and podcasts.

Words matter. I didn’t say anyone should be “outraged”. I just said it was “gross” — literally just that one word. Thurrott only said it “cheapened” Windows. So I agree with Bott and Thurrott: I don’t think anyone should be outraged, but I do think it cheapens Windows to ship it with ad-supported apps from Microsoft. To me it’s the software equivalent of those “Intel Inside” (and etc.) stickers on PC hardware.

Nor do I see any hypocrisy in ad-supported writers decrying the inclusion of ads in the OS. What’s the argument there — that if I write for an ad-supported publication I must forgo the right to complain about advertising in any and all contexts?

Monday, 12 November 2012