Microsoft Is Now Testing Ads On All Windows 11 Devices

Windows 11 - business man using a secure mobile device

Testers for Windows 11 frequently discover new functionality that Microsoft wasn’t quite ready to reveal. Occasionally, this entails digging out a fresh Task Manager or new File Explorer tabs. Additionally, it can occasionally result in you browsing your own locally saved files and seeing adverts for other Microsoft products.

When accessing his Documents folder in a Windows 11 build, Microsoft MVP Florian Beaubois noticed an advertisement for Microsoft Editor. The banner advertisement was real, Microsoft Senior Program Manager Brandon LeBlanc confirmed in a statement, but he claimed it was “experimental” and “was not intended to be shared outside and was shut off.”

Microsoft will use these advertisements to advertise other Microsoft goods, as seen in the leaked screenshots, for example, how to “write with confidence across documents, email, and the web with advanced writing tips from Microsoft Editor.”

As you might expect, there was a negative response to this, with some commentators calling File Explorer “one of the worst locations to show adverts” and others adding that this is the way to go if Microsoft wants “people leaving Explorer for something else.”

Businesses looking to have an ad-free experience in their day-to-day computer activities will need expert IT consulting services from firms like Novus Tek, to provide suggestions to them on how to best avoid ads and still get certain features to help reach their target audience. With the correct IT consulting services, business owners can adapt new features easily and create new opportunities for their customers, such as getting into VR or augmented reality.

Keeping Up With Emerging Technologies

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mobile device data protection

On a machine running the most recent Windows 11 Insider release, BleepingComputer also attempted to duplicate this, but we were unable to see any File Explorer advertising.

This can probably be explained by Microsoft removing the feature in response to the apparent user backlash or by the corporation conducting an A/B testing exercise to evaluate the effectiveness of such a feature.

Redmond, however, didn’t stop there ; two years prior, it tested advertising promoting its free Office web apps in the menu bar for the Windows 10 WordPad application, a campaign that sparked a similar amount of customer backlash.

In order to encourage people to download the new Microsoft Edge, the company also started showing adverts for it in the Windows 10 Start Menu whenever they looked for an alternative browser.

While testing a Teams campaign on Insiders, Microsoft broke the Windows Start Menu and Taskbar, which was one of many experiments that had unforeseen repercussions.

According to Windows Senior Product Manager Brandon LeBlanc of Microsoft, “this was an experimental banner that was not intended to be released outside and was switched off,” he told BleepingComputer.

The company’s behavior regarding its Edge browser, account requirements, and requests for users to try OneDrive and Microsoft 365 all suggest that it has no issue with this kind of aggressive internal promotion of its own goods and services. As The Verge points out, “we didn’t mean for anyone to see that” is not a promise to never run advertisements in Windows Explorer.

Adapting Ads To Existing Infrastructure

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IT guy using a computer

You’ll receive promotional notifications for Apple TV on your iPhone, advice to switch from Gmail to Chrome, or blatant advertisements for Alexa-based devices whenever you attempt to purchase a $6 cable on Amazon. It’s an ugly reality that comes with utilizing a huge company’s products.

I don’t particularly want Microsoft Editor prompts in my Documents folder or a banner urging me to try Clipchamp in my Videos folder (that second one hasn’t happened; it’s just an example that comes to mind). But in my opinion, there’s a difference between banners based on the exact files or file types I’m dealing with in Explorer and suggestions based on general system folders.

Ads On The Start Menu And Elsewhere

Redmond has already pushed advertisements inside the user interface of Windows or any Office applications. Office 2021 subscribers were shown advertisements in August for Microsoft 365 Family subscriptions with discounts of more than $28 for a 3-month Family plan subscription.

Advertisements for various products, including Microsoft Editor, began appearing for Windows Insiders in the File Explorer app in March, several months earlier. When Redmond utilized File Explorer to display OneDrive advertisements in 2016, it was also laced with marketing messages.

In its menu bar two years ago, the WordPad program for Windows 10 displayed advertisements for Microsoft’s free Office web apps. Additionally, Microsoft’s Microsoft Edge web browser was seen to be promoted in the Windows 10 Start Menu when users looked for alternative browsers.

It is unpleasant, but not overly intrusive, to make a general assumption like, “you’re in your documents folder; let me propose other things connected to documents.” It would be inappropriate to imply that the company is collecting and using information about your locally stored files in order to target its advertising more effectively.

Microsoft Has Done This Before

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Microsoft windows building

Before this, the business also quietly introduced an Insiders-only feature that placed advertisements on the Start menu of its most recent operating system. The company’s intention to market the products to its users was confirmed by the test, which included the identical Microsoft account and OneDrive proposals.

Windows Central noted that it could be linked to the October 19th release of the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25227 to the Dev Channel. Microsoft said it was “testing out a modest tweak to the Start menu where some Insiders will see badging on their user profile reminding them that specific actions need to be completed” in the build announcement.

Undoubtedly ambiguous, the change’s description disguised the actual feature the organization was aiming to introduce into the test. And now that this intention has been made public, the business is receiving further criticism for its desperate attempts to increase the visibility of its products among users.

The OneDrive and Microsoft user account offerings are not the only ones being marketed by the Redmond corporation. As it continues to feel the effects of the world’s economic woes, it is also competing to persuade its consumers to switch to the more recent Windows 11 operating system. Stat Counter reports that Windows 10 presently holds 71.29% of the global market share for desktop Windows versions, while Windows 11 only has 15.44%.But it’s difficult to predict how Microsoft will accomplish the hoped-for mass migration to Windows 11 given that the company’s tests appear to be endangering the current Windows system experience. Having the correct IT managed services partner by your side can make or break your business strategy. That’s why Novus Tek is here to help you with every IT service your company might need.