Microsoft's plan for ad-supported PCs may not be a terrible idea

A photo of the Microsoft logo
(Image credit: Asif Islam via Shutterstock)

At a time when global PC sales are declining, what can computing giant Microsoft consider in order to keep sales afloat? Cheap cloud-connected systems paid for by subscriptions and ads, of course!

In a number of job listings on the official Windows site - including this now-closed posting for a software engineer from earlier this year -  the company is looking for engineers to become part of a team that will “build a new direction for Windows in a cloud-first world”.

Included in the job listing is the possibility of low-cost PC models available via subscription, with advertising to try and offset some of the costs. There was some allusion to this potential new model by CEO Satya Nadella when responding to comments by financial analysts in Microsoft's earnings call on October 25. When answering questions about Microsoft's plan for the future, Nadella said one goal would be to include a focus on incorporating ads in what the company offers. 

Ad Break: There is no escape 

Adverts are everywhere, and most of us have come to accept this truth. We grin and bear the repetitive and often annoying string of jingles and skits that make the minute-or-so-long break from our show or Youtube video so hated. If we think about Netflix and its ‘basics with ads’ tier, even when we believe we are free, ads crop up. So it would, unfortunately, make sense for Microsoft to consider low-cost machines supported by subscriptions and ads.

The knee-jerk reaction here is to be absolutely furious and annoyed and want to eat your keyboard because once again, we might be bombarded with ads for things that don’t need ads. However, taking a step back here, we might be able to look at this as a good thing if Microsoft moves forward with the idea sensibly. 

We live in a hyper-connected world and the idea is that people or communities who could otherwise not afford a decent PC could now have access to tech at a lower cost. Obviously, this depends on what the subscription price might be (if it does ever come to fruition) but if you could get your hands on a setup and all you have to deal with is a few ads, it may be a good thing.

Muskaan Saxena
Computing Staff Writer

Muskaan is TechRadar’s UK-based Computing writer. She has always been a passionate writer and has had her creative work published in several literary journals and magazines. Her debut into the writing world was a poem published in The Times of Zambia, on the subject of sunflowers and the insignificance of human existence in comparison. Growing up in Zambia, Muskaan was fascinated with technology, especially computers, and she's joined TechRadar to write about the latest GPUs, laptops and recently anything AI related. If you've got questions, moral concerns or just an interest in anything ChatGPT or general AI, you're in the right place. Muskaan also somehow managed to install a game on her work MacBook's Touch Bar, without the IT department finding out (yet).