Microsoft sells Windows 7 advertising space

Windows logo

Microsoft has unveiled new commercially sponsored desktop themes for Windows 7 from firms like Porsche, Twentieth Century Fox, its own Xbox and more.

The themes come in two forms. First there's a collection of add-ons and gadgets for Windows 7 and Vista as well as Internet Explorer and Microsoft's websites. This "robust sponsorship opportunity" lets the advertiser offer backgrounds, gadgets, and even audio.

"These new themes are intended for a brand's most passionate fans and allow for a deeper engagement by letting consumers embed their favorite brand into their PC experience," Microsoft said in a statement.

The second way advertisers can get involved is by offering desktop backgrounds, slide shows, borders and audio just for the operating system.

"The new Windows Theme Experience and Windows Personalisation Gallery in Windows 7 allow consumers to customise their technology to reflect the things in life they are most passionate about," claimed Darren Huston, corporate vice president of the consumer and online organisation at Microsoft, in a statement.

But don't worry - Microsoft isn't yet forcing us to view advertising on our desktops, this is all opt in. Those who really like staring at advertisements can download the themes here.

Advertising in software might be set to become a bit more common though, as the new free web-based Office suite might be ad-funded.