Well, not exactly caught, per se. But the company did stir up a little controversy in a cup, when folks found ads in the Windows 10 Mail app, which were targeting select users.
Users that are have not subscribed to Office 365.
And just when it looked like when Microsoft was ready to embark onto a new adventure full of criticism, the company quickly took down the ads, saying that the ads were only an experiment and were no supposed to show up on consumer devices.
Talk about a turnaround!
Of course, the company is not new to these types of affairs.
It was not that long ago that the Mail & Calendar users were forced to open links from their email in the Edge browser, disregarding the default browser that they had set up on their device. The later was removed before it made to production, though, after outcry from the user base.
This time around, though, it was reported that the default Mail app for Windows 10 was serving ads to users, which show up inline in the Other section, so not in the Focused Inbox section.
Take a look:
Now, obviously, the idea is not new, the approach not novel.
Microsoft has been looking at ways to monetize Windows 10. It was not too long ago that games like Microsoft Solitaire Collection went from free to freemium, and ads have also popped up in the Start Menu and other nooks and corners of the operating system.
At the same time, Redmond is betting big on Office 365, its subscription-based productivity suite, which has become the main driver of growth for the company.
Ultimately, though, bringing ads to Windows 10 is a strategy that is very likely to be received with much criticism from the community — as this episode so plainly made clear. Even though only a small group of Insiders were shown these ads, but the news spread like wildfire,
Forcing the software titan to take a quick about turn.