Microsoft sneaks ads into the new Outlook for Windows
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.
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
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.
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?Advertisement