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Among the companies that see potential in advertising on the Windows desktop is filmmaker Twentieth Century Fox, which is currently offering Windows 7 users a custom theme for the movie "Avatar."

"People connect emotionally with films and the stories they tell," studio vice president Bettina Sherick said in a statement. "These are the same people who personalize their digital experience. We are thrilled to be able to bring our film properties to consumers and let them engage more deeply with the stories that move them."

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Carmakers are among those that jumped on the Windows 7 advertising opportunity. Here's a desktop theme from Ferrari.

Infiniti and Porsche are also offering custom themes. "Microsoft is a key partner in our global advertising strategy; they constantly provide new ideas and opportunities which are tailored to our brand and exciting for our customers," Infiniti marketing director Jon Brancheau said in a statement.

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Gears of Windows

Shown here is a custom theme for the Gears of War 2 video game.

Although advertising-based themes are new to the Windows desktop, similar efforts have been common for skinning other PC programs, such as browsers and instant messaging products.

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Microsoft is also offering Windows 7 theme options highlighting its own Zune player.

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