Depending on your definition of what constitutes an advertisement, Microsoft has been polluting the Windows waters with ads for years, maybe even decades. In the mid-1990s, for example, Microsoft was forced to advertise competing online services in Windows 95 when it bundled its own service, The Microsoft Network, with the OS. But with Windows 8 in 2012, Microsoft began literally publishing web-like advertisements in the apps it bundled with the OS. And that, to me, was a step too far.
As I wrote that year, for the first time, Microsoft had added “advertising in Windows 8, a move that I think cheapens the product.”