An internal Microsoft research paper is suggesting that the company is looking at launching a free version of its Windows operating system, supported by advertising. Microsoft only makes $9 per user per year from Windows, the paper alleges.
Google's average revenue per user is about $50 per year, we reported earlier. So no wonder that Microsoft is looking at ways to capture some of the adversiting market's richness. In fact, that's what that vendor's Live Software initiative is all about.
Add the threat of open source applications to the mix, and Microsoft should do some deep soul searching.
But don't mistake the paper for anything other than soul searching. The paper was merely prepared for an executive brainstorm session and doesn't represent any actual plans.
Over time Windows is likely to become free – if it wants to meet open source competitors. But currently there is no need to Microsoft to do so. The vendor still has a comfortable market share in the desktop computer market.
Just putting up advertising in Windows also is unlikely to make Windows an interesting advertising destination. Google didn't become successful by selling online advertisements, but by offering highly relevant advertisements next to the search queries that users performed.
You can already argue about the value of advertising next to your Gmail or Hotmail If there is any case for it, it is far smaller than next to search results. Let alone that any users is waiting so see irrelevance hence intrusive banners on his desktop or popups between application windows.
Irrelevant advertising is has little economic value
photo: Jenni Baker
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