There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and there’s no such thing as free software (well… very, very rarely). If you don’t pay a monetary price for software, you’re almost certainly going to pay for it with your privacy, or by seeing ads.
This is something that users of Microsoft’s software have had little choice but to become increasingly familiar with — even in the case of paid-for software. The latest of the company’s apps to fall victim to the advertising plague is Outlook Mobile. Users are particularly annoyed because the ads are difficult to distinguish from emails.
The appearance of ads in the iOS and Android versions of Outlook has not happened overnight, but it has reached a stage that finds a vocal group of users expressing their extreme irritation. While undeniably irritating — especially considering the appearance of the ads — it is hardly surprising given the fact that Microsoft already displays ads in the web-based version of Outlook.
In a statement given to the Verge, Microsoft spokesperson Caitlin Roulston said:
For free users of Outlook, ads are shown in their inbox and they can choose to enable the “Focused inbox” feature if they would like to see ads only in the “Other” inbox.
User have expressed annoyance at the appearance of ads in the app, but there is particular anger at the fact that they look very much like regular emails, with just small “ad” labels helping with differentiation.
As Microsoft says, ads can be (largely) avoided by using Focused Inbox — or you can cough up for a Microsoft 365 subscription instead.
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