Many Windows 10 users, and perhaps others, will be looking forward to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update this summer. Microsoft has been busy tuning and tweaking Windows 10 since its launch and we have seen glimpses of attractive new features on the way via Microsoft blogs and the Insider Builds released for testing. But something Microsoft has been quieter about is the 'ads' it places in Windows 10.
Slides have recently been unearthed by Neowin that show Microsoft is planning to expand the advertising potential of the Windows 10 Start Menu. The WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Community) 2016 sourced slides (PDF) clearly show a strategy of increasing promoted apps in the Start Menu to "introduce users & expose them to the Windows Store". Another purpose appears to be to allow OEMs to easily deploy their own promoted apps.
Currently there are five slots for promoted apps available in Windows 10, as you can see in the upper slide picture. In the lower slide picture you can see Microsoft's suggested arrangement for up to ten promoted apps in the user Start Menu.
So that's the bad news outlined… But the news isn't that bad, for a couple of reasons. Firstly the apps thus highlighted and taking up valuable space in your Start Menu "can be fully uninstalled" or simply never appear in the first place (for commercial Windows OS customers). Secondly, Neowin clarifies that only new installs of Windows 10 Anniversary will be faced with the potential pain of up to ten app adverts.
A report on the same story published on Paul Thurrott's site reckons that the expansion in available slots for Start Menu app adverts stems from the success of Candy Crush, pre-loaded in Windows 10 at launch.