Microsoft is no stranger to sneaking advertising into its products, often to public outcry, and it looks like it might be happening again. People are already getting riled up after one Windows Insider has found a small ad bar for Microsoft services in their Explorer window.
The Windows Insider shared a screenshot of the updated explorer window on Twitter (via BleedingComputer), where they go by flobo09. The image shows a strip line advert below the address bar in Explorer, encouraging users to click a button to find out more about Microsoft Editor. Flobo09 astutely notes that this is something Windows users aren’t going to be happy about, which was proven true immediately by the replies to their initial Tweet.
Some people will go mad if Microsoft starts adding ads in explorer. pic.twitter.com/rusnyrYyX2March 12, 2022
Given that Explorer is a pretty fundamental part of using Windows, people are pretty upset. You don’t expect to be served up ads while browsing through your own files. Especially given Windows is a paid service from a huge company, as opposed to some free shareware.
However, as Flobo09 notes in other tweets this may well be an overreaction. The ad is very minimal and they suspect it will be an opt out feature. The current ad for Microsoft Editor is also for a service that’s free for browsers, and bundled into Microsoft’s subscription services for other use.
Microsoft Editor is just a writing assist tool that picks up on grammar, spelling, and general punctuation. Not a particularly huge or necessary service, and it’s one not many people seem to have heard of in the past. It’s fairly unlikely someone is going to subscribe just for this, so it feels more like it could be intended as PSA or tip, rather than a straight out ad.
It’s still fair to not expect to see this kind of thing in Explorer, and Microsoft do have a history of sneaking in ads so it’s easy to understand the immediate public outcry. Hopefully this will do some good by alerting Microsoft to what users are hoping to see moving forward, because it sure isn’t ads in Explorer. After all, that’s what the Insiders and tests like this are for. In the end it could be because of this that Microsoft does make this an optional thing, or find a better way to implement it.