Microsoft Corporation’s published patent application (U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2007/0157227) may move the personal computer into the world of targeted advertising. Microsoft’s patent application discloses an “advertising framework” that stores content data from various applications and makes this data available to advertisers. Advertisers may then use the framework to target specific computers according to data gathered by the software. For example, an application, such as Microsoft Word or Outlook, may serve as both the source of information for the advertiser and the display output for the advertiser.
According to the patent application, this type of targeted advertising is especially valuable to advertisers because it allows them to place advertisements that may be of greater interest to a particular consumer instead of just a blanket advertisement. While advantages for Microsoft include splitting revenue with the advertiser, Microsoft may face costs arising from concerns of privacy and security. The software giant may need to address the invasive nature of a software application that spies, stores and streams data from personal files and computer activity logs which may then be a potential target to hackers who can access both data stored and the data transmitted to advertisers.
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