Microsoft offers Windows 7 branding

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Microsoft Advertising unveils pilot scheme

Advertisers are being invited to design branded versions of the most popular Microsoft programs.

A pilot scheme from Microsoft Advertising gives companies sponsorship opportunities on Windows 7, Internet Explorer and MSN. Porsche, Twentieth Century Fox and Ducati are among the high-profile clients to have signed up for the project, which runs until 2010. Microsoft has stressed that the scheme is opt-in only, so consumers will have to make a conscious decision to download the branded versions.

There are two elements to the project. Windows Theme Experience offers branding opportunities within various Microsoft programs, including Windows 7 background and borders, Windows 7 audio, Internet Explorer 8 add-ons, MSN and Windows Live. Windows Personalisation Gallery, meanwhile, is focused exclusively on Windows 7 and covers backgrounds, borders, audio and slide shows.

Customising Windows 7

Darren Huston, corporate vice president of the consumer and online organisation at Microsoft explained: "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. These are great examples of Microsoft innovation and technology coming together to enable top global brands to reach audiences in new and interesting ways."

Windows 7, the latest incarnation of Microsoft's flagship operating system, was launched on October 22nd 2009. The software has been generally well received by the design community in contrast to its unpopular predecessor Windows Vista. However, Windows 7 is likely to face stiff competition when the web-based operating system Google Chrome OS launches in the second half of 2010.