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Microsoft Testing Ads in File Explorer as Part of Preview Builds of Windows 11

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Microsoft, famous for bad marketing moves, is looking to make another one. In this case the mistake has not hit the general public but is in a preview build of Windows 11. The mistake is shoveling ads to people for other Microsoft products as part of the Windows File Explorer. To say that this move caused some concern with testers is a bit of an understatement. Some even called it “one of the worst places to show ads”

Microsoft, famous for bad marketing moves, is looking to make another one. In this case the mistake has not hit the general public but is in a preview build of Windows 11. The mistake is shoveling ads to people for other Microsoft products as part of the Windows File Explorer. To say that this move caused some concern with testers is a bit of an understatement. Some even called it “one of the worst places tPushing ads directly inside of an operating system is foolish on many levels. It is an open path for code execution inside of the operating system that could (if set up wrong) bypass sandbox protections that exist in the browser (where compromised ad servers can be used as part of an attack). The other side of this is that people do not want ads shoved at them by anyone. Even the reminder to use Edge when accessing Microsoft websites is annoying, seeing those inside the operating system would be even more so.

This is not the first time and probably won’t be the last time that Microsoft has tried this move. In the past they pushed a reminder about Microsoft Edge every time you used the Windows Search to look for a different browser. They also tried a few “start menu” ads pushing Teams and other applications (even breaking the start menu at one point).

Poor marketing choices from Microsoft aside, the inclusion of hooks in the core OS that can display arbitrary code is just a bad idea. Microsoft has made a few good strides towards making Windows and even Edge more secure and now are on the brink of taking a big step back. It is also the type of behavior that will push people away from Microsoft products. I would think that this is the exact opposite of the purpose of marketing (well Microsoft marketing anyway).

We can only hope that the current backlash from people in the insider program will be enough to kill this new “feature” before it hits production. History has mixed results as we have seen some bad ideas not make it out to the real world and others (like Metro/Modern UI) still hit the market despite a ton of bad feedback from insiders and testers.

The ball is in your court Microsoft, make the right choice here.
o show ads”

Sean Kalinich

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