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You may have heard that some of the apps included with Windows 8 have ads in them. Yup, if you look up the weather, you just might find it sponsored. It’s the same with the XBox 360 Dashboard – there’s ads there too. It’s not like these are free products you’ve downloaded – you’ve paid for them as part of Windows 8 or your XBox 360. Some columnists think it’s no big deal – after all, most web sites are ad supported, and so are many mobile apps, on iOS and Android (Microsoft also hopes soon on Windows Phone 8 as well). But there you made the decision to take a program at no cost.

When you pop for an XBox360, a new computer with Windows 8, or pick up a copy of the program, you’re paying already. Why do you need to watch ads? Some of the Kindle’s from Amazon are the same way, although you can pay a bit extra and dump the ads. So at least you have the option (and you know what the ads are worth to Amazon).

But before you start thinking this can’t or won’t happen on the Mac, think again. Check out this article from three years ago. Apple has already patented putting ads in the OS itself! And the patent is from 2008. So they could add some advertisments at any time.

Do I think Apple plans to do this any time soon? No. But they were thinking about it seriously enough to patent the idea, which is scary enough in itself.

The second article mentions that Microsoft was looking into an ad-supported version of Office. There is such a thing for Windows, but  you can only get it as a pre-installed version of Office on a new PC, and you can certainly not use the software or upgrade to the full version. So that’s not necessarily bad.

Let’s just hope the ads don’t get any more pervasive in our OSes.



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