Is Microsoft working on subscription and ad-supported low-cost PCs?

[German]Reports said that Microsoft is internally working on low-cost PCs (low-cost hardware) financed via subscriptions and advertising. This is supposed to open up new business models, possibly after failing as a counterpart to Chromebooks.


Microsoft's aggressive advertising of its own products is nothing new for Windows and Office users. From ads in the Start menu, to ads in the file manager, to ads in Outlook or Office, everything has been there so far (see e.g. Windows 11: Microsoft tests again showing ads in file explorer). As long as this happens discreetly and does not appear for paid products, it can be tolerated. However, there has often been anger among users in this regard.

In this article, reports that Microsoft is working on a business model that relies heavily on selling Microsoft services on cheap Windows hardware through advertising and subscriptions. The whole thing seems to have been picked up publicly for the first time by WinBuzzer. They write:

According to recent reports, Microsoft is working on a model that will allow the company to build and sell a low-cost PC that customers will pay for through advertising and subscriptions. It seems that this project is serious, because Microsoft has published a job posting about it.

The company is looking for a Principal Software Engineering Manager to help develop an affordable Windows 11 PC. It seems that the whole concept of Windows 365 is supported.

The job ad referred to lists a whole bunch of requirements for the new hire to lead a team of high-performing engineers to design and build a new set of web and cloud experiences and platform technologies.  It states that:

Do you have the passion and experience to build and lead a new engineering team to explore Web and cloud experiences on Windows? The Windows Incubation team is chartered to explore new concepts for Windows in a cloud- and web-first world.

We will have to wait and see what comes out of this at the end of the day. It is possible that such business models will only be developed and rolled out for certain markets such as the USA. It will then also be exciting to see how the competition authorities react and whether they see the exploitation of a dominant position.

Fits wonderfully, the cases described in the post Microsoft's annoying Windows ads: Edge suggests Bing, PC training notifications, I covered a few hours later.


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