Microsoft wants to put ads in Windows email — and it’s already testing them out (update)

Do you use the default Mail client on your PC, the one that comes with Windows 10, to read your email? How would you feel if Microsoft decided to throw in a few ads right at the top of your inbox?

These aren’t rhetorical questions — as Windows news site Aggiornamenti Lumia noticed today, Microsoft is already testing that exact idea in a number of countries around the world. According to Microsoft’s FAQ, what we’re seeing is a pilot program, an experiment, a test that’ll theoretically help the

(Personally, I got Windows 10 for free when I upgraded from Windows 7 — but generally, when you buy or build a new Windows PC, part of the cost goes toward a copy of Windows.)

On the plus side, Microsoft says it won’t read the contents of your email or calendar when it’s targeting you with these ads, unlike Yahoo and AOL. (Google stopped scanning the contents of email for ads targeting in 2017.) But Microsoft will try to target the ads.

And it’s not the only user-unfriendly land grab we’ve seen Microsoft test out recently. Microsoft aborted a short-sighted attempt to scare people away from Google’s Chrome web browser in September, and it tried to shuffle Mail users to its Microsoft Edge browser any time they clicked a link, back in March.

Based on a couple reports from Twitter users, Microsoft may have been already testing these ads for months now — these two are from July:

company decide if it should actually roll out the feature for real.

Microsoft comms head Frank Shaw tells us the company has decided to turn these ads off. He also says the experiment was never intended to be tested broadly, which doesn’t quite jibe with the existence of a FAQ about a pilot program taking place in several countries around the world, but either way the ads should be gone.