Windows 7 to get branded themes

Windows 7 may be about to get branded themes from advertisers, in an extension of the marketing options that Microsoft currently offers companies across its web properties.

Companies like Coca-Cola, Ducati, Infiniti, 20th Century Fox and Ferrari have appeared in screenshots, as well as the movie Avatar and the video game Gears of War. Microsoft has announced that it's begun to plan test pilots with those companies, with the results being known as the "Windows Theme Experience" and "Windows Personalization Gallery".

Brands will be able to stick their logos on IE8 add-ons, Windows 7 and Vista gadgets, Windows 7 backgrounds and borders, and "audio elements". However, before you get too upset, these will be opt-in for customers, who'll have to download the packs off an external site.

"These new themes are intended for the brand's most passionate fans and allows for a deeper engagement by letting consumers embed their favourite brand into their PC experience", says Microsoft.

The trial is due to take place in October 2010.