Microsoft has a history of displaying ads in Windows 10 apps, but in the past they have typically been for their own products. We now have reports of users seeing programmatic advertisements directly within the Windows 10 Mail app.
As can be seen below, these ads are appearing inline in their message list and could be mistaken for a new email. This may lead users to click on them without realizing they are simply an advertisement.
Ads in Mail App
According to a user on Twitter these ads just started to appearing and he was not too pleased about it.
I am seeing ads in the official Windows 10 Mail app. Yes, in the official app. WTF @Microsoft pic.twitter.com/SnMJYUNqCM
— Parth Bhavsar (@7parthbhavsar) July 11, 2018
Of particular interest is that these ads contain the ad choices symbol, which indicates that these could be interest based ads This means that they are displaying ads based on the interests determined by hweb pages that you visited in the past or by your demographics.
Ad Choices Logo in Ad
When we tested the Mail app it was not showing any advertisements for us, so it may be that the company is performing an A/B test with these new inline advertisements. The only ad we saw was for the standard Office 365 promotion under the hamburger menu as indicated by the red arrow in the image below.
Office 365 Promotion in Mail
While Google has been showing personalized ads in its Gmail app on Android and other platforms for quite a while, there are those who feel that a free app should remain ad free. This could very well turn into a controversial topic for Microsoft pushing ads on their users who expect more from from core apps created by their operating system developer.
BleepingComputer has reached out to Microsoft for comment, but had not heard back at the time of this publication.
July 12, 2018