Microsoft is putting a lot of resources into advertising right now so that it can promote its many products and services. Customers have complained that, in addition to ads for the newly introduced Microsoft Store, they have been bombarded with advertisements for the Microsoft 365 trial and the Windows 11 upgrade, and that there are no obvious controls to disable them.
It appears that Microsoft is making more of an effort recently to advertise its wares. Another blog post on Thursday reintroduced Microsoft Store Ads, which are designed to help app developers market their products.
For developers, “Microsoft Store Ads was designed to help grow their business by getting their apps or games in front of the right customers at the right time,” as stated by Microsoft. The app ads will appear in the Microsoft Store app on Windows “within search results and the Apps and Gaming tabs,” as the Redmond firm has promised.
While this may be welcome news to companies and developers looking for a quick way to promote their work, it may have unintended consequences for users’ search-related experiences. It’s annoying, as it is on other platforms, to have advertisements suggested to you rather than the actual product you’re looking for. In this light, it’s intriguing to speculate on Microsoft’s plans for the new system and how it will be used to aid developers while ensuring satisfied customers.
Customers who use Windows have complained publicly about Microsoft in recent months due to annoying advertisements for the company’s Microsoft 365 free trial and Windows 11 upgrade. The latter is hardly shocking, considering how persistently Microsoft’s flagship operating system, Windows, urges its users to upgrade to the newest available version.
It was announced in January that Windows 11 21H2 (Home and Pro editions) devices would be automatically updated to Windows 11 22H2. Recent reports from some Windows 10 users, however, show that this time Microsoft’s change is more annoying.
A screenshot of a Windows 11 upgrade advertisement appeared in full screen on a Windows 10 computer, which was posted in a now-deleted Reddit thread (Ghacks via Neowin). You are now eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11,” it said.
The user had two options for reacting to the advertisement. The two were problematic, however, because they both recommended performing the update immediately or at some point in the future, and the only way to decline was to click the nearly invisible “Keep Windows 10” link at the screen’s footer.
Others have reported an even more intrusive Microsoft ad as recently as the time frame described above. Another Reddit thread claims that various Windows 10 users have been subjected to a particularly persistent promotion for the Microsoft 365 free trial. This ad prevented users from accessing their desktop until they clicked one of the two buttons, both of which asked for a credit card number regardless of whether they wanted to upgrade to Windows 11 or not.
Full-screen during the Windows Out of Box Experience, the ad reads, “Access granted: We’re giving you a free trial of Microsoft 365 Family,” as seen in a video posted to Reddit. Users can choose between “Try it free/Next” and “No, thanks” to proceed with the process. When the video’s protagonist chooses the second option, however, the screen prompts them to “Confirm your payment option,” with no other options on the page other than to begin the trial.
A user described their experience with Windows 10 as follows: “Windows 10 preventing me from booting into desktop without first non-consensually being forced to accept their free trial and $100 monthly thereafter (obviously I cancelled after but WTF Microsoft).”