Joe Belfiore, the executive previously leading the Windows Phone charge (or what there was of it), has returned to Microsoft after a year-long trip around the world. And his new mission is to put more ads in Windows 10.
About a year ago, Belfiore announced he was taking a one-year sabbatical to sail around the world with his kids in a program called Semester At Sea, an educational cruise program run by the University of Virginia. The cruise went around the world, making stops at every continent except Antarctica.
At the time, I said it was a bad sign for Windows Phone when its top guy was leaving for a year, and I haven't exactly been proven wrong on that one, have I? Well, he returned to Microsoft last month with a new position.
According to Paul Thurrott, Belfiore will now handle the consumer-focused Windows Shell, reporting directly to Terry Myerson. His objective is to find new ways to make money with the OS, which means a lot of annoyance for us.
Microsoft doesn't make much off its traditional Windows licensing model, and it made nothing for a year when it was giving away Windows 10. The solution, as we have already seen, is advertising directly in Windows. And it looks like Belfiore will be looking at new ways to add more advertising.
Advertising in Windows comes from native advertisements and "sponsored" content. Microsoft has been doing it since Windows 10 shipped and has no intention of stopping. And unlike the apps that block the spying in Windows 10, there's no blocking Windows ads.
The ads can be a little obnoxious, too. One ad that popped up while using Chrome encouraged users to switch to the Edge browser, which nearly no one has done. Edge has a paltry market share, far lower than Windows 10, while Chrome only grows.
Given the sorry state of Windows Phone, there probably wasn't much for Belfiore to return to after all. I don't object to the ads in the OS so long as they don't get obnoxious. It's the same reason I use Adblock Plus. I don't object to websites running advertising; it pays my salary here. But when ads get really intrusive, in your face and slow down the site load, I draw the line. The last thing I want is for that to happen in my OS as well, and I'm sure most of you feel the same way.