Microsoft’s Windows 11 update adds native ads

Microsoft released an update for Windows 11 on Tuesday, offering small bug fixes and a lighter taskbar. However, users have noticed a new feature that includes “notifications” encouraging users to use other Microsoft products when clicking on the Windows Start Menu.

These promotions will appear as ads when users click on the Windows button on their desktop. For example, clicking on “Back up your files” will open OneDrive, enticing users to sign up for Microsoft’s cloud backup service. Although users receive 5GB of OneDrive data for free, it is insufficient for a full backup.

The notifications are only being deployed to a small audience, according to Microsoft’s Windows 11 preview release notes, but will reach a wider audience in the coming months.

Windows beta users have shared screenshots showing Microsoft may not stop at putting notifications in the Start menu. A user posted a screenshot of an ad appearing in file explorer with a message near the top advocating for Microsoft Editor. The company has long tried promoting its products like its Edge browser directly inside the Windows 10 Start menu and File Explorer.

Despite some updates offering clear improvements for the OS, such as tabs on File Explorer and a native video editor, Microsoft has been trying to put its software suite front and center on its operating system. In February, the company baked its Bing AI directly into the Windows 11 taskbar.

Microsoft is asking for feedback from users who are seeing these pop-ups in their taskbar. However, some critics have expressed concerns that the company is attempting to bombard users with ads for services they have no intention of using, potentially breaking its “wait for every other OS release” streak, in what could come as soon as 2024.

The sources for this piece include an article in Gizmodo.

IT World Canada Staff
IT World Canada Staff
The online resource for Canadian Information Technology professionals.

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