Windows 10 ads take hubris to a new level

What does Microsoft's experiment in installing ads on users' desktops tell us about its future patching proclivities?

Windows 10 ads: Taking hubris to a new level
Credit: Thinkstock

I've tried hard to grit my teeth and learn to love our new patching overlords, but they've gone too far. I can't imagine why the folks at Microsoft think they should push the Recommended update KB 3035583 onto Windows 7 and 8.1 PCs when its sole purpose is to advertise -- and sign people up for -- Windows 10.

Yeah, I get that Windows 10 is a free upgrade. (Or at least I assume it's free on all the machines that get that pushed update.) I realize that rolling out Windows 10 is going to be a mammoth task likely unparalleled in the history of computing. I know that Microsoft wants to be able to say on Day 1 that umpteen zillion people have upgraded.

But what gives Microsoft the right to reach into my computers and, without warning or approval, push its ad onto my Auto Update-enabled PCs?

Even more worrying, what does this little experiment tell us about Microsoft's future patching proclivities? Will I wake up one morning and discover that Windows 10 really wants me to buy Office 365? Or maybe that fabulous new Xbox game? How about Oxiclean for new whiter whites? 

Don't laugh. The hooks are built into Windows 10 already: Spotlight on the lock screen; Nudges on the Start menu; Edge's new tab; Cortana into everything, everwhere, with ads in every imaginable nook and cranny; all the built-in Universal apps either have ads now or may have them shortly; the Store; and now, by example, ads in the system tray.

If you aren't paying for the product, you are the product.

Don't get me wrong, I like Windows 10. I've been up to my elbows in it, finishing off a thousand-page book. There are lots of caveats and workarounds, since it isn't yet solid and there are many questions to be answered. Still, it hangs together nicely. But oh, the ads!

This much I know for sure: Anybody who installs a new OS -- any OS -- on the first day of release is begging for trouble.

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