Starting back with Windows 8, Microsoft slowly began introducing advertisements into its Windows platform. At that time, because the ads were only in apps, it was argued that they were not really part of the OS since you had to open the application.
But, with the launch of Windows 10, there is no denying that advertisements are creeping further into the OS experience. When the company released the platform, ads for third-party applications were located in the Start menu and while you can turn off these ‘suggestions’, it’s clear that Microsoft has become comfortable with this type of advertising.
Microsoft is showing no signs of slowing down with ads inside the OS and is pushing further ahead by promoting its own products on the taskbar. We have previously seen the company suggest using Edge when it is pinned to the taskbar and now we are seeing the company advertise an extension for Chrome as well.
Spotted by myce.com (image to the right), you can clearly see that the company wants this user to install its ‘Personal Shopping Assistant’ for Chrome. If this was an isolated pop-up, that would be one thing, but Microsoft has indicated that this type of behavior is here to stay
I asked Microsoft for comment about this advertisement and if it was an indication about more content like this coming in the future, they issued the following statement: “We are always testing new features and information that can help people enhance their Windows 10 experience”
I fear that as Windows enters into middle-age, it has become a mature platform that is simply a utility for productivity instead of being the only computer that you own, Microsoft is dead-set on figuring out new ways to monetize the OS including these types of advertisements.
The more concerning issue here is that right now only Microsoft is using this pop-up to drive its agenda but you can bet that third-party advertisers would love access to this API. Seeing as Microsoft is clearly comfortable with advertisements on the taskbar, you can imagine a world where you can get Windows for free or a version that costs extra to blocks advertising.