back to article Microsoft dubs Windows Phone 7 'ad serving machine'

Microsoft is positioning its upcoming Windows Phone 7 smartphone OS, planned for release this October, as an "ad-serving machine." That's how Microsoft exec Kostas Mallios described the OS to an audience that could be expected to approve of Windows Phone 7's taking a starring role in the mobile-advertising firmament: attendees …


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  1. madferret

    Toast by name...

    "Toast allows advertisers to push ads onto your Windows Phone 7 smartphone whether you have an associated app running or not."

    Toast. Exactly what any smartphone I have running unsolicited ads will be. I was already seriously thinking Android - but how long before the Chocolate Factory follow suit?

    1. Adam Williamson 1

      It's most of the way there already

      Trying to find apps in the Marketplace which *don't* spam you with ads all the time is extremely difficult.

  2. Chris Thomas Alpha

    who wants this?

    is microsoft in the business of making products nobody except their shareholders want?

    who exactly is going to want this? that aside from the question of the two powerhouses apple and android, who exactly will buy it anyway?

    they seem to be looking for the perfect way to lose customers, more than the perfect way to make money.

    1. Lou Gosselin

      Re: who wants this?

      Owners don't want it. I assume microsoft did it's homework though and calculated that it could get more money out of advertisers than it could from product owners.

      I'm not sure if they factored in the inherent customer backlash, but on the other hand people may just become accustomed to it like with everything else, especially since steve balmer and jobs are both on the same bandwagon. So much for a non-intrusive user experience.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Typical Microsoft

    Its MY phone - not theirs. But then again they take the same attitude to the average PC.

    1. Raspy32

      Re:Typical Microsoft

      Ahh but don't forget that according to the licence, it's THEIR OS running on YOUR phone. So they figure that they can do what they want with it.

      I can't wait to move to Android.

  4. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down


    I think this is what the catchphrase "do not want" was invented for.

    As it is, iAd is making me consider jailbreaking my iPhone, if somebody creates an ad-killer a la AdBlock Plus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Why would you jailbreak your phone? Just don't install any of the apps with ads in them - most will be of the free variety.

      Also, you can opt out of sending private data by going to You'll still get iAds (if you run apps with the ads) but they won't use private data from you to serve you more personalised ads.

    2. FARfetched


      You can run your web access through a proxy, right? Just set up an ad-blocking proxy, point your phone to it, poof.

      This should work equally well for any smartphone (provided they support proxy access).

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mmmmm ...

    ... toast sounds delicious.

    I also believe that next year the nationalised banks will generate so much profit that none of us will have to pay any tax.


  6. mafoo


    "Ahh, no! The constant spam is a Feature! not a virus!"

  7. Tom 35


    So the advertisers will pay for the data they are pushing right?

    1. Skizz

      Damn Right

      Especially as all the networks are ending their unlimited data tariffs, those adds could cost you quite a bit if you go over your agreed data limit.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another reason not to use Microsoft products

    I mean seriously, who would want this crap? "Yes please bombard my phone with unwanted advertising, because TV just doesn't give me enough anymore!" I hope the guy that came up with this gets fired rather than promoted after it bombs.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      It's worse than that - they are targeting this phone at enterprise users, so in effect you'll be forced to watch ads because it's the phone your company makes you use.

  9. Greemble
    Thumb Down

    Cost / security

    Presumably then, as an end user, any device that has this system installed will be free.

    Or do they expect me to buy their 'ad-serving machine'?

    I wonder how easy it is to send an advert to the device with their 'toast' system - who else might send desktop icons to it?

    "Click here to renew your on-line banking, Paypal account" etc.

  10. Christoph

    I see a great future for this

    There's all kinds of really useful things that could be done with this technology. For instance if someone is trying to dial 999 for the emergency services, an automatic pop-up could over-ride the call with an advert for a no-win no-fee law firm to help with whatever your problem is.

  11. Alien Doctor 1.1

    In that case...

    In that case I'll have a free smartphone, free contract, free data roaming and free MMS and voice please - I will NOT pay for unwanted advertising taking up any allowances I have bought.

  12. Anonymous Coward


    Great way to kill your product.

    We do not want to be advertised at on a phone we are paying to use. we already paid. get it?

  13. Connor
    Thumb Down

    Like the plague...

    Is how I will be avoiding that one. I am sick of companies treating me like some kind cash cow that they can milk for their own ends. Since when did customers become constant squeeze material. In the old days, you purchased from a company, you used the product, full stop. Nowadays you purchase a product and said company continues to 'monetize' you by getting paid to serve ads up to you constantly. This is not OK.

    Despite claims to the contrary, it does not help product development, it does not make products cheaper, it in no way benefits the customer. It just simply further lines the pockets of companies riding roughshod over the consumer.

    If a company wants to pay someone, they can pay me to view their ads, not some middle man to bombard me with adverts without my consent.

  14. heyrick Silver badge


    How to kick a nail into the coffin of an unreleased product in one easy press release...

    I assume Microsoft have consideration for who is going to PAY for this ongoing dialogue? Privacy issues? Security issues? Is it just me, or is it too late to expect a phone to be, you know, a phone?

  15. Chemist

    Oh, Yes

    I can surely see why I'd want this as a user ! TFIC

  16. Piggy and Tazzy

    I wish...

    Advertisers - and those who seem to think we're all advert junkies - would all fuck off and die.

    If they want to advertise on the phone I've just shelled out shitloads of money on, then let THEM pay ME - not the other way around. Why the hell should the data allowance that *I* pay for be used by bloody advertisers to shove their crap onto my display?

    If they want to advertise, then give me the phone for free. If I'm paying for it (and the data), then they can go and fuck themselves.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Utter stupidity

    What the hell are MS thinking? are they deliberately going out of their way to scare off customers or something? It's almost as if they are trying to torpedo the entire project before it's even launched.

    Ok, they are playing to the crowd at the show, but sheesh, utter stupidity in how they are doing this.

  18. Pirate Peter


    M$ , get the message,


    we are fed up with advertising **$$^&$ s trying to monetorise the arse out of us, and we have had enough, this is yet another reason to avoid windows based mobile, along with sh!te battery life, slow performance, hanging etc


  19. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Well, at least they're being honest

    What is it with the advertising industry? They seem to live by the creed that people want to see advertisements... somehow, I don't think this is the case. Adverts are funny/amusing/social commentary/reference works fifty years later, but at the time they're nothing more or less than a pain in the nether parts.

    Even if one is forced to observe adverts in a bit of (presumably free) software, why on earth would anyone ever want those adverts to take up your valuable screen real estate when you're doing *something else*? Why would MS even assume that anyone other than the advertising companies would even consider this?

    Pinned to the screen, huh? If they're not pinnable *off* the screen, then your comment is correct; this product is toast before it starts... when this happens with real-world software, we use the anti-virus/trojan/whatever tools to remove it, and call the perpetrators 'spammers' or worse. How is this different?

  20. Jon Press


    .. regular consumers don't actually use Windows 'phones, do they?

    Jobs at least had the sense to get them hooked *before* burying them in ad-manure.

  21. Sentient
    Thumb Up

    nice analysis

    "If Microsoft doesn't make it easy and transparent to opt out of 'toast', that word might well describe the fate of its upcoming "ad-serving machine."

    lol indeed

  22. Anonymous Coward


    I won't be buying that then!

    Imagine if door-to-door salesman were like this. They would be breaking the back window to get at you as you slept!...

    I will 'contact the company' (read the website) when I want 'a conversation'.

    Why does the world need to be fed a constant stream of LYING ads for BS products that should never have been invented just to get by? Daft economic model totally reliant on ever increasing consumption of crap. It is unsustainable cos there are only so many hours in the day. People can only take so much crap! Even if they wanted more, their is a finite limit on their ability to absorb it! TIME.

    Most people actively try to increase their crap-free time on earth and the best way to do that is NOT to let one's wallet vote for more crap that fills your life with adverts for crap!

    This is why M$ is screwed. Always pushing the limits of how much crap their customers will take and finding that surprisingly, some don't want it. Are they just trying to get a customer base of the most gullible people on earth? Then ;et those that have better things to do than watch adverts go elsewhere. Someone will always offer an alternative. If they don't then the whole system is broken. Competition and choice right? Who will choose to watch MORE ads?! Why?!

    They just want to raise the threshold of what is considered a 'normal' amount of advertising from most of every day to ALL of it! And who is going to keep the advertisers under control? If the whole purpose of making us endure more crap is profit only. Then, surely a few lying ads and scams/cons will not be too unethical - after all, only margin matters right?

    Is this a last gasp from a company that knows if they don't do something about Google's advertising dominance, they will be bust? Well I hope it happens soon. Ahhh. That product got the best rant out in a while. I'm sure that as usual, others will also feel exasperation as M$ drag the world to a sadder place. Why don't they put us in tanks, strap us in, plug an 'advertising machine' right into our brains and have us watch ads 24/7? That's what they want isn't it! Why pussy-foot around? Just get straight to it! Where do I sign up?! NOT!

  23. Mike Echo

    Thanks, but no thanks.

    As if Win mobile didn't have enough of an image problem. Now you can guarantee users avoiding it should the "ad serving" come to fruition. Opt out? Not even an opt in?

  24. IT specialist

    We'll sit back and watch the failure of Windows Phone 7

    Microsoft is the most experienced in how to kill an operating system, as it is now demonstrating.

    It killed Windows Mobile by making all the existing enterprise apps obsolete, and creating an Osborne Effect by announcing the next product before it is released.

    It killed its Kin phone in only 3 weeks after release. Well, actually, Kin was still-born, and was so malformed it didn't have a chance of survival.

    Now we are witnessing how Microsoft will kill Windows Phone 7. Put it to market full of bugs, and lacking basic features (eg C&P), but make the hardware requirements so high that the units will be expensive anyway. Make sure many features are broken, such as the dysfunctional compass inside every handset. Make it a more closed platform than even iPhone. Lock the OS down using DRM to prevent jailbraking. Then announce to everyone that Windows Phone 7 will be the biggest ad-serving machine humankind has ever seen.

  25. Mark McNeill

    Hear that sound?

    That's the sound of the world's smallest open-source violin.

  26. Joe 35

    Mmmmmm, a phone who function is to continually spam me

    What genius dreamt that one up? GIven that or a phone which doesn't actually take calls when you have the temerity to pick it up with your hand, looks like its an Android model for my next smartphone then.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Ad Serving machine?

    Is it just me or are there others who really hate the idea of my phone displaying unwanted and unrequested content? I see this as a pure invasion of privacy.

    If I am interested in 'stuff' then I'll make my own decision based upon the information I look up not what ideas the Ad agencies think I am interested in.

    PErhaps this is why I don't watch Commercial TV or if I do, I skip over the adverts.

    I was thinking about getting a smart-phone but I'm not so sure now. Maybe, I'll stick with my 8yr old Nokia Dumb-phone.

    Oh yeah, I work for a media company but our stuff is only shown if you request it.

    BB == Ad Agencies for obvious reasons

  28. kevin biswas

    dubs Windows Phone 7 *what* ???

    Not on my watch........

  29. Epiphany

    GonAds? The New PDA Operating System!

    The genie is out of the bottle and the browser is gone... the web is no longer a social medium, it's the new battleground of the Cola wars... GonAds ! ADHD, Advertisement High Definition ... Go figure ... As George Carlin swiftly pointed out, they can't wait to smear the marketing feces in all aspects of our life.

  30. E Haines


    I wouldn't have thought it possible to make iAds look positively benign by comparison, but nevertheless MS have managed it. Congratulations, I guess.

  31. Kurgan5

    'Ad Serving Machine'?

    Really? Well I was waiting to see how awesome Windows Phone 7 was going to be before taking the plunge, and now I know!

    Android, here I come.

  32. John Hoar

    Dumb dumb dumb

    Microsoft surely must know by now that you cannot say anything in a public forum without the press reporting on it. And they've just given WinPhone7 the kiss of death.


    Apple get a free ride for iAds from the press as the press generally have a huge crush on Apple. Microsoft is damaged goods.

  33. Herby

    When will it just be a telephone?

    I suppose it is out of control. Phones will never be used for voice communications. They are a sea of "applications" and now "advertisements". Somehow I long for the days of dial (not touch-pad) telephones. Those days were more relaxed.

    I seem to reflect on those "good old days" (which at times weren't) given that today I am three-score in years. (*SIGH*)

  34. NB


    Apple have iAds, Microsoft are 'toast' and there's no telling how long it will be before google do something similarly retarded with android.

    Well people there is an alternative Maemo (soon to be Meego), properly open source and ad free.

    *hugs his n900*

  35. King Jack

    But people ARE stupid.

    Look at Satellite TV. You buy the box, you pay your subs and enjoy the adverts. Any sane person would say that they have already paid once and cancel. But in the real world it is accepted. (not in my house).

    So once the sheeple are served ads, it will become the norm. Watch this space... Sad but true.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @King Jack

      Remember a trip to the cinema when they didn't serve ads for a movie you paid to see? Sigh.

      1. King Jack


        They don't break the movie into bits with ads inserted. They are at the beginning. The movie runs uninterrupted.

        Try going to the bogs or arriving late.


    2. Ned Leprosy

      Paying Sky to be spammed

      We currently have a Sky subscription, but thanks to their ludicrous amount of advertising on something we already pay (a lot) for, it's always been on a knife-edge. I suspect that, like us, people subscribe not out of acceptance but thanks to the lack of choice where ad-free channels are concerned, but I can't see the day is that far off when we'll stick two fingers up at them and save ourselves some money and aggravation: even pre-recording stuff and fast-forwarding through the crap every 10 minutes gets old fast.

    3. AndrueC Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Maybe but not quite.

      An even more informed user would understand that the adverts are helping to keep the subscription down. If you want advert free TV you'll have to pay a lot more for your subscription(*).

      But I don't care much anyway. I have Sky HD and I time shift everything. When adverts appear I just reach for the [FF] button. Not as convenient as the [Skip 30 sec] button of my other PVRs but at least I avoid the adverts.

      (*)What really gets my goat is the way broadcasters are increasingly plastering their own adverts over the top of programmes. I'm not a retard. I don't need a stupid banner to appear telling me what's on next. The EPG does a far better job of telling me that.

  36. Surur

    If you dont want ads as apps, dont install them

    Overreact much? MS is talking about apps as ads, such as the Chevy Volt app which lets you drive the car on the phone as part of the promotion. If you like the app so much you pin it to your screen you may see invitations for extra content, and if you opt in for notifications they will let you know when the car becomes available.

    And if you are not interested in the Chevy Volt, why did you download the app in the first place. If you dont want it anymore, just uninstall it.

  37. Big-nosed Pengie
    Gates Horns

    and this is news...


  38. Dest

    Remember, The End User Has No Ownership Rights Over The OS

    Remember, the end user has no ownership rights or privacy rights over the OS, only what Microsoft allow you to have.

    Read the MS Eula.

    The OS belongs to them exclusively.

    This allows Microsoft to do whatever they want when it comes to violating your privacy or even shutting down the OS remotely.

    I am not saying that they would ever do something like that but they certainly can if the want to.

    So that being said, of course they are going to spam the end user with paid for advertisements since they have the ability to do so.

    I mean, is that really so much of a surprise considering it is coming from Microsoft?

  39. Chas

    M$ are a bunch of tools

    The big difference between this and iAds is that you have to choose to watch the iAd. Not interested? - then don't click on the ad. iAds are NOT forced on the end user and paid-for apps will probably not carry them anyway. M$ appear to want to force you to watch them no matter what.

    At least Apple's method seems more ethical and gives the consumer the choice to view or not to view.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      That's how it works.

      See, you are already making a choice, 'iAds are better because...'. It's working already. Rather than cast all the shit out you are defending one of them. Foot in the door anyone? Then when M$ change to a lesser intrusive model you'll accept it gladly.

      This is marketing at its finest.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pass The Bucket

    "That tile," Mallios told his crowd, "is actually a dynamic tile that you're now able to push information to as an advertiser, and stay in touch with your customer. It's a dynamic relationship that's created. It provides for an ongoing dilogue with a consumer."

    I think I'm going to be sick

  41. Anonymous Coward

    Google anyone?

    Google is the biggest ad server in the world. They make so much green they can afford the long game. What long game? Waiting until Android is everywhere. And then? You guessed it, the biggest ad server in the world will start serving up ads in Android. Simple.

    It'll happen. Don't let their open source goody goody attitude blind you to their real commercial purpose.

    But it's okay, some freetard will port AdBlocker eh? Knobs.

  42. Chris 54

    Think again

    My company has a similar solution called PACE for Series 60 based handsets. It performs exactly the same function as the MS solution - an insert ads into the idle screen, into running aps on the screensaver, in-call and more.

    As noted in the overwhelming number of posts, these type of solutions - including ours - can be intrusive and plain annoying.

    However, trial results also show that subscribers can be very positive about ads - assuming the right balance is found between ads and and the services provided to the user in return for accepting advertising.

    Here are some real user quotes from our UK trial in December last year:

    • “If this service is done very well it will have a positive effect on the perception of ... as being an innovative operator!”

    • “If they offered the service the way I liked it, then I’d be more inclined to get a phone with ...”

    • “If they were the first company to offer it I’d think fair enough well done - they’ve stepped up a gear with going online.“

    • “I feel a little bit like they are actually giving me something back - an additional service almost for free.”

    The trick is of course finding a balance between ads and the free content/services supported by the ad-revenue. Users are OK with ads, but expect something in return.

    I accept that these solutions can be annoying. Done well, however, they achieve a positive outcome for all parties. The results speak for themselves: a 60% click through rate on at least one campaign / month when running a 25%/75% ad to content mix.

  43. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Gates Halo

    Party like it's 1999, pack your things like it's 2001

    Pleasing advertisers was the key to success in the 90s. That was followed dot-com decimation around the year 2000 when customers left seeking actual content. Bill Gates needs to pull a Steve Jobs - Return to MS to save it from doom.

    1. Lou Gosselin

      @Kevin McMurtrie

      Not to disagree, however it seems like both microsoft and apple are selling out to advertisers. Both are ok that the user experience will be sacrificed in the name of advertisements.

  44. Pirate Peter

    and the next question is ??

    is this a taste of things to come with their next generation desktop OS?

    because if they can get away with it on mobiles what is to stop them adding the same features to the next desktop OS or even the next service pack

    if they think they can make money and get away with it they will do it, look at BT,VM,TT etc and phorm

    if it is, expect more people to migrate to linux


  45. AndrueC Silver badge

    I have an idea..

    ..coming soon - a HUD built into your spectacles that spews adverts at you.

    This is an appalling idea. Has anyone else read /The Space Merchants/ and its sequel?

    It's time to be scared :O

  46. hahnchen

    People will buy this

    People are stupid.

    The vast majority of people buying phones don't care about the OS. Some guy at the Carphone Warehouse will show them the cool looking tiles, the shiny screen, and they'll buy it.

    And this will end up being a success, and we'll see other OS's get more obnoxious ads too.

  47. captain veg

    Better than free

    I was wondering how MS hoped to compete with Android. I mean, what handset maker would *pay* for an O/S that is palpably inferior to established alternative that costs zilch? Here's how: by paying HTC et al to preinstall their adware. We are not the customers: the hardware producers and the networks are. Windows 7 phone will be a revenue stream to them, not a cost.

    Still, I'm sure Google can do that too. Then it turns into a competition as to who can put the most ads in front of the most eyeballs.

    Great. I'll stick with Maemo, thanks.


  48. Eddie Johnson

    This Whole Ad Driven Economy

    is the next bubble waiting to pop. Just watch. It will soon be realized that the ads do not generate the promised click thrus, sales and ultimately profits. Click fraud and the related ad overcharging are rampant in the industry, don't the estimates range from 30-70%? Anyone paying these ridiculous rates is eventually going to wake up and realize they aren't generating enough revenue to pay for their marketing budget.

    Ultimately, to make money you have to build physical things and sell them for actual money to generate GNP. This ad economy is the ultimate extension of the whole "service based economy" and will be the first portion to fail. The whole banking and mortgage industry was only a means to an end - purchasing real estate. Once they started to think it was an industry unto itself it was doomed to fail. Advertising is the same. It can't be more than 10-20% of the total economy.

    Sell your GOOG now, Sergey knows!

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