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Andy Brice
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Bingo Card Creator

Solitaire in Win 10 and ads

As you've probably seen on the net Win 10 has solitaire in it, but as a freemium game (pay to remove ads basically).

This has sparked a lot of noise on the web.

Why did MS do it?

My theory is perhaps they are doing it as an experiment to test appetite (or tolerance) for this kind of pricing model within Windows.  I doubt MS are that interested in the 1 or 2 million dollars they might make yearly from solitaire (it is $10 per year per user).

They have sparked some controversy and the usual flaming.

Or could this all be a straightforward error in judgement by MS?

What do you think?
Bob Frances Send private email
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
FWIW I also know that it was Solitaire was developed by a 3rd party, not MS.  Which makes me wonder what deal they have there!
Bob Frances Send private email
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
It also installs Candy Crush Saga by default. Again, not a Microsoft product and certainly a dodgy choice based on the addictive qualities of the game and financial pressure it applies on addicts to continue to progress with it.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
This is puzzling me also as it is quite a change from anything we have seen before.

As OP mentioned, a third party 'Arkadium' developed solitaire for Windows 10 (along with several games for MS). I would be surprised if they get any of the revenue from the subscription, I would have expected MS to pay them as a hired vendor under contract.

It seems most likely MS are experimenting with small subscription based additions. Moving forward MS probably want to give away Windows for free indefinitely in order to capture market share on as many devices as possible.

I still don't see their angle on this though. I cant imaging a free Windows 10 with dozens of extra low cost subscription offerings built on top. They moved office over to Office365 which is a pretty good offering, perhaps Windows365 is around the corner?
maxr Send private email
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
I think a lot of people are missing the point with the ads in the Windows 10 apps and seeing it as a end way for MS to make money. I don't think it's that at all. They have dozens of other revenue streams that are a lot more profitable then ads in a free game.

Its not an experiment as a new way to monetize Windows. After all it's only free for a year. And that's really to just push as many existing users to it as possible so they can leave previous versions behind.

Microsoft basically has a problem of legacy. They need a way to dump the legacy behind fast. Til now the only way to get new versions of Windows was to buy a new computer or buy the new OS. They sell many retail copies of Windows but I will wager its next to nothing compared to OEM installs. More people are going mobile and they have weak (in sells) for mobile offerings currently. They've now become the third OS to develop for instead of the first. So fewer companies are doing any mobile development for them. The market isn't there.

For a company like MS how can they forcefully put themselves back in front of developers and make their platforms more enticing? What if they can guarantee the within a year they can have a user base for a new mobile platform that can rival IOS and Android in user base? Oh and bonus this new user base will allow you to target desktop, mobile, and game console with one app.

MS can afford the hit in a year of OS sales to get as many people on Windows 10 as they can. Then after its business as usual with OEM license costs.

How does Solitaire and ads figure in all of this? Developers and companies who have good revenue streams now want proof that they should target a third system. They want to see numbers. Now they have examples of released running applications on users machines in which they can gather stats, see what works and doesn't work. They have a year to get it together for their developers. You can bet next year's build conference will have a boatload of content on different ways to monetize your apps. How to effectively use ads in your app. How to use subscription services. Etc... They will now have all the data they need.
TrippinOnIT Send private email
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Excellent analysis of the situation. Thanks for posting this.
Andrew Gibson Send private email
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
>Microsoft basically has a problem of legacy. They need a way to dump the legacy behind fast. Til now the only way to get new versions of Windows was to buy a new computer or buy the new OS.

This is certainly true, and I guess since about XP consumer (and business) desktops have done "enough" to make upgrading a choice, rather than a necessity. Consequently, the consumer user base now runs perhaps 5 versions of Windows and it is becoming a nightmare to support software across all of them. OK, most stuff will run OK out of the box, but there are gotchas here and there and short of testing on all environments they are very hard to second guess.

So because of all that, I do like this move from Microsoft - it gives my users less of an excuse not to upgrade, at least.

I do wonder though if MS are gradually starting to exert more control over the Windows ecosystem, having seen the obvious success for Apple. A comment from Calvin in another thread set me thinking - where might this ultimately lead?
Anon123 Send private email
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

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