UPDATE: Microsoft says the ads were only an experiment and weren't supposed to show up on consumer devices. As a result, the company has pulled them and will no longer be displayed on preview builds and final versions of Windows 10. Original story below.
Microsoft seems ready to embark onto a new adventure full of criticism, as the company has started testing ads in the default Windows 10 Mail app.
While the idea isn’t new, it looks like the approach has recently been refreshed to target non-Office 365 subscribers as well, with ads now showing within the email client for a number of users in the Windows Insider program.
I can confirm I saw the exact same ad on Windows 10 build 18282, and AL reports that this is happening for users who aren’t subscribed to Office 365.
Microsoft is betting big on Office 365, as the subscription-based productivity suite has become one of the main drivers of the company’s growth, though bringing ads to Windows 10 apps is a strategy that’s very likely to be received with much criticism by the user community.
Outlook and Gmail users targeted
As part of this new ad push, the Mail app will show a small banner in the bottom low corner to “Get premium Outlook features,” as well as an in-line ad right at the top of the message list. When clicked, the ad recommends users to “Go ad-free with office 365.”
A banner section called “Where to ads in Mail come from?” explains that “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.”
For now, it just looks like Microsoft wants to target Windows 10 users with Outlook and Google accounts, but this could change in the future and also bring ads to those with IMAP or Exchange accounts.
At this point, this ad push is still in preview stage, so only insiders are seeing the banners, but depending on how the testing goes, it could be promoted to production devices anytime soon.
Just Microsoft being Microsoft, folks.