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Windows Phone 7 "to be an ad-serving machine"

Gordon Kelly


You think Steve jobs is the new king of self destructive PR? Microsoft can still show the Apple CEO a thing or two...

Speaking at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival Microsoft general manager for Strategy and Business Development Kostas Mallios performed an extraordinary foot-in-mouth manoeuvre when he described the company's impending Windows Phone 7 smartphone OS as "an ad-serving machine".

"{Windows Phone 7 is} an extra move on our NUI (natural user interface). We're trying to get technology out of the way of people," he explained. "For consumers, what this means is basically seamless experiences, seamless social connectivity – not just about applications, obviously about the phone, obviously about media. For marketers ... this is actually turning out, in my view, to be an ad-serving machine. It basically enables advertisers to connect with consumers over time."

The gaffe wouldn't be so bad if news hadn't also broken that Windows Phone 7 will allow companies to push ads to users even outside of their applications. Owners can opt out of this behaviour in settings, but it will be enabled by default with ads appearing both in home screen tiles and alerts at the top of the screen.

Finishing things off, Mallios was introduced at the festival by a host who gave away the platform's release date: "I'm gonna ask rock star Kostas... to come on," she said. "And Kostas has brought with him Windows Phone 7, which we launch this October."

How successful the launch for this initially highly promising platform will be following the subsequent revelations about questionable third party app development and a lack of multi-tasking remains to be seen. I'd argue the smartphone sector would benefit from a competitive Microsoft product, but at this stage WP7 seem to be unravelling fast...


Mallios quotes via TechRadar

Ad behaviour via Electronista

Launch date via DailyTech


June 28, 2010, 11:18 am

wow. where to start..

If I want to know what products are up-and-coming (just like the Windows Phone 7), I will read it first on a tech site like TR. And it will be balanced and unbiased. I dont want to hear the advertiser's "spin" on their products, months later during launch.

Promising tech, but the execution is just out of touch with what consumers really want. They should call this "Windows Vista Spam Phone".


June 28, 2010, 1:36 pm

I'm not against targeted ads so much. I would rather, if I had to put up with ads, they were more focused on things I am interested in that random rubbish. In saying that it seems like an idiotic move enabling homescreen ads by default. Who would ever want that? I think Microsoft needs to remember they are serving the user and its very important the user is happy.

Iphone has finally hit its stride with IOS4, Android keeps going from strength to strength and its expected gingerbread will be released (at least announced) towards the end of the year improving it further and Webos is...well, in Limbo, still has potential though. These are huge competitors to Windows Phone 7 and all but webos are already well estabished so Microsoft really has to take people away from their chosen platform and get then hooked on their new OS. Pretty big ask, especially considering the (what i've heard so far)limitations of the platform at launch;

No multi-tasking (biggest mistake)

No expandable memory

Limited apps at launch

No copy and paste (lol'd at that one)

Those are the biggies, IMO, and will certainly stop me dead from making the jump from Android. Coming as an ex Windows Mobile fanboy i'm disappointed by these limitations and was excited by Zune support (launching in UK soon I hear)and the potential gaming strengths MS could bring to the mobile space.

This has turned into a long rant. Short of it is I was excited by WP7 but have grown more and more disinterested with each passing announcment.


June 28, 2010, 4:45 pm

I don't get why you guys are making such a big problem out of this. Andriod and iOS also have the same capability, except for the fact that iOS doesn't have widgets though. Microsoft is just demonstrating push notifications to a bunch of advertisers, that's all.

You won't have any ad on WP7 unless you download an app that has them or unless you start browsing the internet. Get it? No ads until you go to an app or website that has ads.

If you don't believe me then watch that video another couple of times and think about the audience that's sitting there. The audience that's sitting there are the kinds of people who make the advertisements for Ford or Coca-Cola. Those brands will also once in a while bring an app to the applications marketplace to promote a new upcoming product or some kind of action they're running. For some of those actions or promotions it can be useful to use push notifications, but if you don't like those notifications then you can turn the off on a per app basis or just uninstall that app. This is not something that's specific to WP7, it's also available for Android.


June 28, 2010, 8:37 pm

Why can't we have the option of not having ads, at all, ever?


June 28, 2010, 10:19 pm

I'll take the other option of not having a windows mobile phone at all, ever



June 29, 2010, 4:45 am

Microsoft can console themselves at least with the fact that this gaffe will be buried by the publicity surrounding the poor reception on Apple's latest iPhone.

Impressive though Windows Phone 7 is i just worry that perhaps Microsoft may have left the launch a little too late.

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