Microsoft Faces Obstacles Over Vista Welcome Screen Ads

ms_vista.jpg

Microsoft's new OS Vista "Welcome Center" screen, seen by all PC users when they start their computers, will display ads. Because that practice has caused complaints, the company is facing trouble from the U.S. Department of Justice as well as states attorneys general who are considering legal action. A report was filed last Wednesday with the judge handling Microsoft's antitrust compliance.

With millions if not billions of people viewing that screen on initial boot at least a few times a week, calling it prime advertising real estate is an understatement. While TV has died as a mass media, Microsoft's "Welcome Center" will cause marketers to drool over its reach but cause extreme concern among those who feel Microsoft will use the space to promote the company's own products.

UPDATE: Catch the "diggversation" over here where diggers crucify Adrants Farker-style.

UPDATE II: Here's the actual legal brief (pdf) that confirms the story except for our misinterpretation about the ads appearing every time Vista is booted versus just during initial boot.

by Steve Hall    Feb-12-06   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Desktop, Policy   

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Comments



Comments

They can't be serious can they? Sure, they'd be able to turn a mint from putting adverts into the OS. But who in their right mind would be happy with that decision? You pay premium price for an OS (when XP is doing quite nicely thank you very much) only to had it feed you advertisments?

Now, if Microsoft only intended to show this at the start of copies of Vista that have obviously been pirated I'd see the logic!

Posted by: Daniel, Rogue Connect on February 13, 2006 6:59 AM

Where did that come from? I've been following the Vista development since 2003 and I have never heard anything mentioned about Vista becomming adware.

Posted by: Thomas Thomassen on February 13, 2006 7:46 AM

There is no way I'm upgrading to vistas if it has advertisements. It's time to go Apple. My god, how stupid is this.

Posted by: Bjorn Tipling on February 13, 2006 11:36 AM

1) I would buy an advertising supported OS from MS only if there were a discount - actually, i would probably pay the premium price not to have the ads anyway.

2) Is seeing an ad when you boot up really that bad? My first reaction is "No, it's not". Then I realize that it will take additional time to load that data...therefore slowing my boot time. Additionally, it will be in the interest of the advertiser to have their ad up as long as possible....does that mean MS would tweak the boot screen to make it last longer? THAT WOULD BE HELL.

3) This isn't an anti-trust issue. You pay for cable and Comcast shows you ads...most markets the cable system is a monopoly anyway, so why should MS not be able to display ads as well? Consumers will make their choices to avoid it...it might help the linux movement, or sell more macs.

4) WHAT ELSE ARE YOU LOOKING AT DURING THE BOOT SEQUENCE? A WINDOWS LOGO? SHOW ME ANYTHING ELSE AND IT WOULD PROBABLY BE AN IMPROVEMENT.

Posted by: Peter on February 13, 2006 11:56 AM

Good point, Peter. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2006 12:48 PM

Ads are horrible. I hate them. I have stopped watching television and I no longer even own one because of ads. I use massive amounts of adblocking online and I pay for Yahoo! Plus to avoid ads there. I don't want ads, especially not on my private property (my computer). There are alternatives to windows. So yes Peter, it is that bad, and no I don't want to see ads. If I'm willing to give up TV, I'm willing to give up Windows.

Posted by: Bjorn Tipling on February 13, 2006 2:09 PM

What's the source of this? Speculation?

Posted by: aslnfslnfkln on February 13, 2006 4:35 PM

THESE ADS ONLY SHOW ON THE FIRST TIME YOU BOOT YOUR PC. THEY SHOW AN ANTIVIRUS AND A FEW OTHER OTHER USEFUL PERIPHERALS SUCH AS ONECARE LIVE.

Posted by: theone3 on February 13, 2006 5:01 PM

More to the point, if you're paying $300 for a piece of software, it shouldn't bombard you with ads everytime you start it up.

Posted by: Alex Ravenel on February 13, 2006 5:06 PM

THESE ADS ONLY SHOW ON THE FIRST TIME YOU BOOT YOUR PC.

If that is teh case that it seems more reasonable. But I'm still of the view that I don't want to see adverts in something I've paid for. I watch free to air TV and I get adverts, fine. I get Pay TV and I object to seeing adverts (one of the reasons I don't have Pay TV).

Posted by: Daniel, Rogue Connect on February 13, 2006 5:12 PM

THIS ARTICLE IS VASTLY INACCURATE. THESE ADS ONLY SHOW ON THE FIRST TIME YOU BOOT YOUR PC. THEY SHOW AN ANTIVIRUS AND A FEW OTHER OTHER USEFUL TOOLS SUCH AS ONECARE LIVE. THE WELCOME CENTER IS ALSO FREELY CUSTOMISABLE BY THE OEM. For more information, visit This Casefile

Posted by: pingpong on February 13, 2006 5:16 PM

DEAR MS FANBOYS:

STOP SPAMMING WITH YOUR CAPS LOCK, THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INACCURATE. WELCOME CENTER WILL DISPLAY ADS ON STARTUP FROM THE HARDWARE MANUFACTURER AND ANY OTHER COMPANY WHO HAS SIGNED A DEAL.

WELCOME CENTER WILL DISPLAY ADS. DEAL WITH IT.

Posted by: Preston on February 13, 2006 5:28 PM

I'll "deal" with it by switching to Linux by the time I need a Windows upgrade. I've had about as much as I can stomach from M$.

Posted by: Tony on February 13, 2006 5:42 PM

RONK!!!!!

Posted by: RONK!!!!! on February 13, 2006 5:48 PM

Look. If you just can't read the actual case file, then there's nothing I can do for you. I've never EVER met a MS fanboy. The fact is that this article makes it look like every time the pc is booted, ads are displayed. That is flat out, 100% wrong.

Posted by: pingpong on February 13, 2006 6:02 PM

this i bull shit, if microsoft think they can get away with it, they have another think coming. i am very sure someone will find a way to hack i and get rid of the adds with some kind of crack but you can't have add's on Welcome Center. something should be DUN!!!!!

Posted by: mike on February 13, 2006 6:14 PM

Even if it's just the first time the PC boots - how long do you think it'll be before Microsoft says "hey, let's feed more stuff into that space whenever it boots?" C'mon, don't be so blind, we all know Microsoft does whatever it wants, even ignoring antitrust decisions in other countries (it seems to be giving Europe and Asia the middle finger whenever they pass rulings.)

I've worked with Microsoft as a contractor in the past, and last year they put together a whole team to do nothing but figure out how to best plug advertising into all their products. They'll do it, and we'll all just live with it. Though I'm not going to upgrade past XP anyhow, if Vista's required for the non-work stuff I do (like games), I'll just stop doing those things. One can only take so much advertising before wanting to pull your hair out.

Posted by: xeno on February 13, 2006 6:18 PM

Who cares? I've found that people who use windows out of choice are usually idiots anyway, or people who don't know any better.

One more star for linux.

Posted by: Antony Jones on February 13, 2006 6:59 PM

Frank Shaw (via Scoble) confirms that the "ads" for ISP's, antivirus protection and the like is only on first boot, this article should be worded more clearly to get that point across.

Posted by: Ross on February 13, 2006 7:07 PM

Where in the article do I say these ads will appear every single time a users boots? Damn, you diggers are like Farkers. Nothing better to so than bitch.

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2006 7:12 PM

Steve Hall said, "Where in the article do I say these ads will appear every single time a users boots?"

From the article, "With millions if not billions of people viewing that screen at least a few times a week"

Posted by: Chris on February 13, 2006 7:32 PM

I guess Steve Hall figures that Windows users reinstall their OS a few times a week.

Maybe some do, but I only do it once or twice a year. And I think I do it 10 times as often as the average user.

Posted by: screensnot on February 13, 2006 7:40 PM

Actually, Screensnot, doesn't every one have to? I mean it's not the most reliable OS. OK. just kidding. And, Chris..sorry...obviously I fucked up and misled...that will be changed.

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2006 7:47 PM

An advertising-supported OS? Excellent, that means they'll be giving it away! Right?

This is like pay-tv in Australia. When it started, they broadcast only shows and promos for other shows. And then, about a year later, the advertisements started.

Paying to see ads. That's ridiculous and sick.

Posted by: Flashman on February 13, 2006 8:01 PM

Good job on editing your story for accuracy. Sort of.

Tossing in the update where you whine about the digg convo was lame. Your original article was totally misleading. When some digg users point this out, you claim to be crucified. Granted that diggers are not always as polite as possible, but if you continue to write inaccurately like this, you are going to need to get used to it.

Posted by: screensnot on February 13, 2006 8:14 PM

Who's whining? All I'm doing is humbly admitting I may have said something incorrectly and am inviting people to explore all sides of the story themselves. What's so wrong about that?

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2006 8:39 PM

I think Steve acted appropriately and Digg users are known to be just an angry and destructive mob anyhow:
http://img513.imageshack.us/my.php?image=diggback9pv.jpg

So I wouldn't let it bother me. This blog is fantastic.

Posted by: Bjorn Tipling on February 13, 2006 9:02 PM

Thanks, Bjorn. While the Digg mob thought they'd have their fun with me, all they did, humorously, was juice my Google AdSense revenue through the roof for the day:-) So, if you Digg users want to crap on me again, have at it! I don't mind taking shit as long as I get paid for it!

Posted by: Steve Hall on February 13, 2006 10:09 PM

I just make sure not to buy things I see in adds on the PC and the TV

Posted by: Roomba on February 13, 2006 11:18 PM

What an incredibly lively debate!

It seems like a bit of a non-issue to me...Microsoft is having their lunch eaten by Google more and more everyday, so they want to find new sources of revenue (becasue they don't have enough, right?). If it complies with the antitrust agreement, that's their perogative.

To me, the fact that Dells are going to shipped with all Google software and that IE 7 is said to be designed to reject Google ads is a much more exciting issue. War!

Posted by: Jordan on February 14, 2006 11:49 AM

Most people on here are just full of crap. Right now it would seem that microsoft is promoting the use of useful software that THEY make. Why not be able to promote your own product, ON YOUR OWN PRODUCT!? As long as it doesn't sacrifice boot time. And if you're gonna stop using the OS, then do it stop talking about it, maybe then MS will get your point. Giving up TV is insane!!! Unless you mean broadcast TV, I love me DVD collection and I record the shows I wanna watch and fastforward the commercials. I love DVR.

Posted by: SrUrwick on February 15, 2006 1:59 PM

i don't think this article is true... Onecare live already comes with Windows Vista, and also ads are haven't been seen in any of the previous beta builds... Microsoft would have put ads in its beta builds of Vista to test peoples reaction. And also, i can't find this article anywhere else... looks like a rumour rather than fact.

I don't think Microsoft would put adverts into an operating system that people pay for and one that will generate enough profit without adverts.

Posted by: Charles on February 17, 2006 7:14 AM

i don't think this article is true... Onecare live already comes with Windows Vista, and also ads are haven't been seen in any of the previous beta builds... Microsoft would have put ads in its beta builds of Vista to test peoples reaction. And also, i can't find this article anywhere else... looks like a rumour rather than fact.

I don't think Microsoft would put adverts into an operating system that people pay for and one that will generate enough profit without adverts.

Posted by: Charles on February 17, 2006 7:15 AM

Wow... you are all idiots.

Posted by: annoyed on June 28, 2006 12:09 PM

New Aol welcome screen piece of crap...I'm leaving aol.

Posted by: Larry on January 24, 2007 9:00 PM

is it possible to be running AOL on "windows vista" and still have the conventional AOL "welcome screen"

i have tried for hours to get my friendly screen back but am afraid i am forced to admit defeat.

unless there is somebody out there who can offer any assistance

Posted by: john on July 3, 2007 5:58 PM




Stanton Optical


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