Update: After I posted this, the original link at Daring Fireball was changed, with no indication that it was changed, to a more tasteful, less offensive site. The screenshots I captured below were accurate at the time.

More thoughts over at ZDNet: How outraged should you be about ads in Windows 8 apps? Not at all

This is hilarious.

John Gruber at Daring Fireball today linked approvingly to an article on Hot Hardware, adding the following title: “Windows 8 Includes Built-in Advertising.”

Gruber’s one-word comment: “Gross.”

Why is this so funny?

Follow that link and you come to an article that complains, mildly, that the Bing apps in Windows 8 (not Windows 8 itself, mind you) have ads in them.

But here’s what that Hot Hardware web page looks like:


See the word “advertisements” right under the screenshot? That double blue underline, ironically, means that the word has been transformed into an ad. If you accidentally move your mouse pointer over it, this is what happens:


That popup appears automatically and immediately, as soon as the mouse pointer passes over the word. No clicking required. And if you move your mouse pointer away, the popup window remains open.

And three seconds later, my browser window was taken over by an auto-playing video clip, complete with obnoxious audio.

So, to review:

A Windows 8 user who chooses to use the included News, Finance, Travel, and Weather apps will see occasional ads. If they don’t like them, they can choose not to use the apps. They can even uninstall them.

Meanwhile, Gruber sends his readers to a site that uses auto-playing video popups.


10 thoughts on “Gross

  1. You’re spot on. Gruber is a grub writing that.

    Mind you, those Microsoft ads are annoying. And I don’t know how it works for you, but here in New Zealand the ads I get are always inappropriate.

    1. Because, unfortunately, this sort of nonsense makes it into the real world and people believe it. Gruber does a great job on Apple news. But for the most part he is completely out of touch with Windows and occasionally falls for horribly wrongheaded stuff like this. And he has a large readership that includes many people who are influential in the tech press. So if John Gruber writes a headline that says “Windows 8 includes built-in ads,” his readers file that away as a “fact,” without bothering to check it out.

  2. But that doesn’t change the fact that the default apps bundled with Windows do indeed contain ads… and that’s a pretty crappy move on Microsoft’s part and one that should be called out.

    A large percentage of regular users will never uninstall or even think to use different apps. Microsoft knows this and is taking advantage. It’s also going to chase more advanced users away from these apps… which very well may be quite good.

  3. I must confess, I do have Daring Fireball in my Google Reader list, and occasionally Gruber does write good stuff regarding Apple – but a lot of the time I do find myself skimming over a lot of the posts, particularly the put-down ones.

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