Microsoft sneaks ads into the new Outlook for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 2, 2024
Microsoft Outlook
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24

The migration from the classic Mail and Calendar app to the new Outlook app is in full swing already. Microsoft announced the deprecation of the classic apps in favor of a new Outlook app in June 2023. It introduced the new Outlook app to Insider builds a month later and announced that it would enforce the migration in early 2024.

Not all users are migrated at this point. Those who have been migrated already or installed the Outlook app directly, may notice several differences between the new Outlook app and the classic Mail app.

One of the main differences turns an ad-free email experience into one with ads. You may see ads in the inbox in the new Outlook.

New Outlook Ads

The classic Mail app did not have any ads. The new Outlook app is based on the web-version of Outlook, which also features advertisement.

Microsoft highlights advertisement with an ad icon. The ads are designed to look like regular emails otherwise, and it may be difficult for some users to distinguish between ads and real emails.

Microsoft is not the only maintainer of a free email service that displays these types of ads. Google's Gmail service and many other free email services may also display these types of ads to users.

Ads in the new Outlook app may be deleted. This is done by hovering over them in the inbox and selecting the trashcan icon. This won't last long though, as new ads will eventually be added to the inbox again.

There is also a menu link that links to the "go ad-free" page on Microsoft's website. Microsoft asks for $1.99 per month for an ad-free Outlook experience.

Ads and trackers are almost synonymous these days. Proton, maker of Proton Mail and therefore a Microsoft competitor, claimed that Microsoft was using the Outlook app as a new data collection service on Windows.

Go ad free by switching to another email client

New Outlook email in Thunderbird

Switching email clients is an option. While ads are shown like emails in the Outlook app, these are not shown when you connect third-party email clients to the Outlook account.

One of the best options on Windows is the open source Thunderbird client. Installation and setup of Outlook in the email client is straightforward.

All it takes is to type the Outlook email address and password in Thunderbird's account creation dialog to add the account. It takes less than a minute to complete and you will get an ad-free experience in the end.

Closing Words

Ads used to be distinguishable from regular content. This was the case for ads on the websites of email services, for search results and many other places. Nowadays ads are designed to look like regular content. This increases click rates and increases the revenue of the publisher and also the ad company.

It seems unlikely that this trend is going to reverse anytime soon.

The new Outlook app is a step back in this regard. A percentage of Mail users will dislike the display of ads in the new Outlook, as ads were not part of the classic Mail app.

Now You: what is your take on the new Outlook, and ads made to look like regular content?

Summary
Microsoft sneaks ads into the new Outlook for Windows
Article Name
Microsoft sneaks ads into the new Outlook for Windows
Description
The new Outlook email application for Windows displays ads disguised as regular emails to users. The classic Mail app did not.
Author
Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Qwin said on February 5, 2024 at 9:20 am
    Reply

    The best key combo for the new Outlook: Alt-F4

    1. TelV said on February 7, 2024 at 11:26 am
      Reply

      Not in Windows 11. That Alt-F4 key combination in the new OS loads Powershell now.

  2. David said on February 4, 2024 at 7:47 am
    Reply

    So you pay a Windows license to get an email client with ads… Nice. They should include ads only if you use their free mail service.

  3. George said on February 3, 2024 at 5:58 pm
    Reply

    This is not a replacement for the Mail app it is a replacement for desktop outlook a VERY different thing.

    It is not the addition of ads that is a problem it is a corruption of task data that it. This new app relies on Microsoft todo which is not yet fully integrated that curious data. Does not support all inline data placements, moves their location to headers and doesn’t support formatting completely DESTROYING users data.

    That use NOT ok!

  4. Timoleon said on February 3, 2024 at 9:06 am
    Reply

    Microsoft is not a charity and as long as we don’t talk about monopoly and shady business they can produce any software they want. That being said, we may use alternative applications that come ad-free. Personally, I don’t use Microsoft apps other than File Explorer and I’m perfectly happy. As for the quality of ad-free apps, it may vary but in my case I’ve had no problem finding good replacements.

    1. TelV said on February 7, 2024 at 11:35 am
      Reply

      @Timoleon,

      You’re lucky you don’t live in the Netherlands. All digital interaction with government agencies requires you to confirm login using an application called DigID. That will only work with proprietary software meaning a choice between two evils namely Microsoft or Apple.

      In Germany, they have a version of DigID that will work with Linux, but not here unfortunately.

  5. Mike said on February 3, 2024 at 6:21 am
    Reply

    I’m been a Microsoft user since the early 90s, I think it’s time to FINALLY give Apple a try. These monthly fees add up and I’m tired of it. Everyone wants a monthly fee and I just don’t have any more to give. The Internet is horrible anymore and this is one of the main reasons it does. Corporate greed and control of something that should be free. RIP Net. It was fun.

  6. eWaste11 said on February 3, 2024 at 12:56 am
    Reply

    After all, it is simply a web wrapper for Outlook.com. Nobody is being deceived, except for those who are unaware. Instead of creating quality software, Microsoft is now solely good at bothering, harassing, and defrauding their users. I’m still waiting for an ARM build of Thunderbird.

  7. Tom Hawack said on February 2, 2024 at 5:30 pm
    Reply

    When it comes to Windows OSs my policy has always been to avoid all the native Microsoft apps, services and replace them with worthy alternatives.

    Outlook, old, new : exit. Office work with LibreOffice, email with Webmail (Posteo[.]de here).
    Browser : any but not Edge (should I run post-Windows 7) nor Google’s Chrome. Firefox here, otherwise it could be brave or … Palemoon, maybe.

    My digital credo : avoid as far as possible (‘possible’ means the equation that resolves feasibility and subjective easiness) all of GAFAM products and services. There are alternatives and I use them for a better digital life. No Microsoft (except the OS, still Windows 7), no Google, no Facebook & Co., 14Mb of system-wide blockers via DNSCrypt-proxy, uBlock Origin on Firefox plus several privacy dedicated extensions.

    We get along very nicely without GAFAM and will continue to.

    As for the argument which implicitly surrenders to advertisement (which includes malvertisement) and corollary tracking in consideration of modern times, it’s that one argument which just doesn’t stand in the face of human dignity.

    IMO, need to say. Not in mine only. We all know this flexible wording which applies to whatever you wish : “there are two sorts of people …”. Here it’d be, “those who accept to be exploited and the others”. Many of us refuse, most talented develop alternatives, from OSs to browsers, be they thanked to allow less talented to be able to live the modern digital ear free (more or less) of the intruders.

  8. SeventySevenTabs said on February 2, 2024 at 4:55 pm
    Reply

    So is this site back to the way it used to be, before all those spammy stories that I assume were AI-written began showing up? Months ago, I had to stop reading because the amount of content was too much to keep up with and the stories were growing less useful. But it looks pretty normal now. Was there ever an explanation about that?

  9. Tachy said on February 2, 2024 at 3:16 pm
    Reply

    I took a look at the “Outlook (new)” app.

    When adding an email account to it you have 3 choices.

    #1 Sign into your PC with the account your trying to add.

    #2 Sign into all Microsoft apps on your PC with the account your trying to add.

    #3 Close the program and uninstall it.

    I chose #3.

    1. TelV said on February 7, 2024 at 11:51 am
      Reply

      @Tachy,

      I seem to recall that your browser of choice is Microsoft Edge. You’re a regular visitor to the Ghacks site so you must be aware by now that Edge uploads everything you do online to Microsoft. Yet you continue to use it. So there’s not much point in uninstalling Outlook if you use other Microsoft products which compromise your privacy.

  10. ECJ said on February 2, 2024 at 2:37 pm
    Reply

    So, when it’s time to buy a new computer, if I buy a Mac instead of a Windows machine, it comes with Mac Mail – which doesn’t have inbox ads.

  11. Anonymous said on February 2, 2024 at 1:54 pm
    Reply

    I don’t think it’s right to suggest alternative software, this is Microsoft we’re talking about. Even if there are ads not only are you encouraging people to downgrade to something worse but also encouraging people to use adless software which is objectively worse for the livelihood of the developers themselves – who buys email clients or donates to developers of such? Sure there are people who do but it’s much less income than ads. I don’t think it’s right to even suggest alternative software like this when our economy is taking a nosedive.

    1. Herman Cost said on February 2, 2024 at 6:42 pm
      Reply

      This is tongue-in-cheek, right? Or is your concern that a global monopoly won’t be able to compete if a few people switch from Outlook to Thunderbird? I do suspect there is a chance that Microsoft just may be able to survive the depression that you seem to feel is on the horizon.

    2. g. said on February 2, 2024 at 6:02 pm
      Reply

      lol?

    3. VioletMoon said on February 2, 2024 at 4:15 pm
      Reply

      Currently, the US economy continues to show its resilience in the job market, the lowering of inflation, and a stock market that is breaking all-time highs in the S&P. Overall, investors are happy; consumers are happy with lowering prices; and employees are happy with better benefits. The real estate market is way out of line as Real Estate Brokers continue to inflate and maintain inflated housing values and mortgage rates remain astronomical.

      Martin is always pushing “Thunderbird,” has been for years.

      A presumably new client is named “BetterBird.” Promises only? I don’t know, but it would be worth trying especially if one is already using “Thunderbird”:

      https://www.betterbird.eu/

      1. mysiak said on February 4, 2024 at 11:09 pm
        Reply

        BetterBird appears to be mostly a one man show. But the additional features do look interesting.

        @Martin:
        A review will be much appreicated.

  12. Rubeus Dekkchair said on February 2, 2024 at 1:33 pm
    Reply

    Unfortunately, few people will understand that this move by Microsoft is completely unacceptable.

    It’s hard not to be a misanthrope.

    1. Anonymous said on February 3, 2024 at 1:24 am
      Reply

      Why is that unacceptable ? It’s a perfectly legitimate and more relevant: legal move by MS and if there are enough zombies out there to make this work, then kudos to them for having brainwashed so many into braindead lemmings.

      BTW: everyone who has ever had contact with an average user shouldn’t be surprised by this at all.

      1. Steviator said on February 3, 2024 at 10:08 pm
        Reply

        The reason its unacceptable is because this is a component that ships with Windows. It might be acceptable if it was another person putting shitware on your computer, because you could retaliate by slipping spyware and adware into their computer, or just punch them in the face like they deserve.

        Unfortunately one of the parties is a global mega corporation with enough money and influence that if you even thought about retaliating, could send a heavily armed SWAT team to your house to lay siege to it with pyrotechnic grenades and assault weapons like they have done to pirates in the past.

        Nothing Microsoft does to its users is fair, because the user has so little power in the relationship. End users often don’t really have a choice to withhold money to punish them for their bad behavior, since MS were paid by their employer or computer manufacturer. It’s like how when a teacher goes out with a student, or a boss goes out with the secretary, the power imbalance makes otherwise fair situations into ones where your life may become very inconvenient unless you agree to something you don’t like.

  13. John G. said on February 2, 2024 at 1:14 pm
    Reply

    Ads are commonly used mostly everywhere. This web also has some, and no one is complaining about it. If you want to avoid ads just pay. Easy, doesn’t it?

  14. John said on February 2, 2024 at 12:40 pm
    Reply

    The normal ads in the far right pane aren’t that big of a deal. Same happens on outlook.com as well. It’s the ads disguised as a email at the top of my Inbox list that is annoying. Makes you think it is a regular email. Probably Microsoft’s annoying way of getting you to pay for their removal. Microsoft figures if we annoy you enough, you will pay us.

  15. Roger said on February 2, 2024 at 11:34 am
    Reply

    I noticed a “new outlook” recommandation in the start menu after a major update in W11 pro. I was able to uninstall the program without obvious opposition. So far, so good.

    The passivity of the public when it comes to advertisement in their private space is what allows corporations to push this agenda, leading to useless services owning and controlling financial wealth, information and, in the end, actual ressources. Until this absurdity is stopped by adult citizens, Microsoft and the likes have no reason to not push it even further, despite the fact that it already has gone beyond the absurdity line.

    We need to start creating an ad free environment not only in our terminals but also our home, our workplace and our psyche.

    Start tearing off these logos, people; for your own good and that of your children.

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