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There are nearly half a billion active users of Start news feed, says Microsoft

Personalized news feed has its fans, according to exec

Lurking within Microsoft's Q3 2022 earnings reports last night was news that people are indeed still buying Windows PCs, and that half a billion customers are "active users" of the company's news feed, Microsoft Start.

Microsoft Start is a personalized news feed "tailored to your interests," which at least some users, in our experience, are switching off.

Nonetheless, Microsoft corporate vice president for Communications, Frank X Shaw, has said the company is seeing "strong engagement" for the widget panel and reported "nearly 500 million monthly active users."

We asked the Windows-maker what "active users" meant in this context, but Microsoft has yet to respond.

The software and cloud giant immediately received pushback on social media, with a user on Twitter remarking: "If Microsoft think[s] the tabloid widgets from a forced live icon placed on every Windows 10 and 11 taskbar is adoption, then it's not listening to customer feedback..."

By all accounts, Microsoft has continued to pull in the dollars despite disquiet over its licensing practises and grumbles over alleged anti-competitive behavior. The company's flagship operating system, Windows, has continued to rack up customers despite the seeming stalling of Windows 11 adoption.

Shaw said: "More than 100 million PCs have shipped in each of the last eight quarters, and Windows continues to take share," as the results rolled out.

Revenue in "Personal Computing" segment was $14.5 billion and increased 11 percent, with Windows OEM revenue up 11 percent, Windows Commercial products and cloud services revenue up 14 percent. Surface revenue increased 13 percent, while Xbox content and services revenue increased 4 percent. Meanwhile search and news advertising revenue (excluding traffic acquisition costs) increased 23 percent.

So overall, while the cloud may continue to be the big thing, Microsoft's legacy Windows PC business is still bringing in the dollars. As for Microsoft Start, we can't help but wonder if the company's considering adding sponsored content to that bottom line, especially with numbers like nearly half a billion active users. ®

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