Owen Williams for The Next Web:
Microsoft’s core business isn’t ads. It’s Windows. But that might change very soon, as the software giant realizes that it can’t try and sell the OS at such a high price point any more and moves to try something new. Ed [Bott is] right that the system interface doesn’t include ads, and that the money does go to a different department in Microsoft, but it’s not about that. It’s about what this means going forward.
Microsoft still has a fair amount of power in the PC market (though not nearly as much as they did in, say, the late 1990s). That they’re willing to gamble the remainder of their power on advertising is ballsy, especially since they’re targeting the still-very-popular Xbox. I think it also speaks to a thin thread they’re clinging to. If they slip — when they slip — users have increasingly greater non-Microsoft options to choose from.