Microsoft Is Putting Ads on the Mail App in Windows 10 (Update: Or Not)

Posted on November 16, 2018 by Mehedi Hassan in Outlook.com, Windows, Windows 10 with 50 Comments

Update: Microsoft’s head of communications claimed on Twitter that ads on the Mail app were “never intended” to be tested broadly and that the company is disabling the ads on the app. The claim here is interesting mainly because Microsoft has an entire support page dedicated to ads on Mail, and that wouldn’t even exist if Microsoft never intended to test the feature broadly. Either way, it’s being turned off, so we can all stop complaining now.

Original story follows.

Uh, yes. Microsoft is bringing ads to the Mail app in Windows 10. The company has been shipping Mail as the default email client in Windows 10, and it has improved quite a lot over the years.

The app obviously isn’t as good as Outlook’s mobile apps, or the Outlook desktop app. It is still a good alternative for those who don’t have to deal with hundreds of emails every week. The app could, however, get some serious backlash soon.

Microsoft is testing a new update for the Mail app with Windows Insiders which introduces ads within the app, as first reported by Italian blog Aggiornamenti Lumia. At this point in time, the app only shows personalised ads on top of your inbox. And the only way to get rid of the ad is to get an Office 365 subscription.

The ads will apparently appear for all users — even if you don’t use a Microsoft email service like Outlook and only have Gmail, Yahoo, G Suite, or other third-party accounts, you will still see the ads until you purchase an Office 365 subscription. And that, of course, is quite ridiculous. “The ads at the top of the message list come from Microsoft. You’ll see them whether you are using a Microsoft email account, like Outlook.com, or an account from another email service provider, like Google,” the app says, asking users to purchase Office 365 to get an ad-free experience.

“Consistent with consumer email apps and services like Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail, advertising allows us to provide, support, and improve some of our products. We’re always experimenting with new features and experiences. Currently, we have a pilot running in Brazil, Canada, Australia, and India to get user feedback on ads in Mail,” Microsoft said in a support page about the new ads in Mail for Windows 10. The company says it will only display ads in the “Other” inbox for those who have Focused Inboxed turned on, and those who have it off will see the ads on top of their regular inbox.

In Microsoft’s defence, although these ads are interest-based, they do not look at your emails to display ads based on data from your email. Plus, you can opt out of interest-based ads if you’d like.

Microsoft has previously received a ton of backlash for putting ads on Windows 10, and I imagine this wouldn’t be any different. If Microsoft does decide to go ahead with the idea of putting ads on the default email client in Windows, it will most certainly receive negative reviews and complaints from users who already pay for the OS.

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