When Microsoft releases the next version of Windows, it will force its OEM customers to set up a code that brings a user direct to a Microsoft welcome screen every time the computer is turned on.
OEMs will no longer be able to use the boot up sequence to promote their own brands and if any refuse to use the new code, they will not be able to initiate the operating system.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Microsoft's decision to close access to the boot-up sequence will allow it to stop other manufacturers taking advantage of the forthcoming Active Desktop - a kind of "open window" to the Web. The Active Desktop will allow organisations to send data to the desktop in a similar manner to a TV, complete with channels - an excellent route for advertisements.
Tony Occleshaw, software marketing manager at IBM, said Microsoft was having to adapt its strategy in the face of changing business paradigms.
"It is now clear that, for the first time, Microsoft is being severely mauled in its product business, particularly by Corel, so it needs to develop another revenue stream."
John Robb, a senior analyst with Forrester Research in the US, agreed with Occleshaw's analysis and claimed Microsoft will use the Active Desktop to fine-tune its presence in the media arena. "It's obvious to me that when someone uses the Active Desktop, they will be pushed towards Microsoft's own channels," he said.
Occleshaw added: "Microsoft will suppress everyone else's branding so it can steal all the limelight and there's very little we can do about it without taking legal action."
But Microsoft denied the accusations, claiming the Active Desktop will be configurable to users' individual requirements and all companies will be given equal opportunity to promote their products on it.
A spokeswoman explained: "The Active Desktop is not a vehicle for Microsoft to promote itself. Our decision to prevent OEMs from interrupting the boot process is the result of extensive research which revealed that OEM shells are not welcomed by customers."
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