We knew when Microsoft announced that Windows 10 upgrade is going to be free for the first one-year of its launch, there were some strings attached. It comes as no surprise, not to those who understand there is never anything for free. But running Ads on File Explorer! Where the sanctity of Windows going?
Windows users are reporting to have seen notifications on File Explorer asking them to sign up for OneDrive, Microsoft cloud storage service. This notification came at the Quick Access screen that pops up by default when you open a new File Explorer window.
One might argue that is just Microsoft helping a new user that does not know his/her way around Windows OS to start using the cloud storage service. However, the fact that the notification contains the price tag and a button to click and learn more about the service, it clearly is and advertisement.
In its defense, Microsoft replied to questions from news outlets saying the OneDrive pop-up is nothing more than just a ‘tip’. A ‘tip’ that the user can stop if they chose to. A spokesperson for the company said:
“The net tips notifications within the File Explorer in Windows 10 were designed to help Windows 10 customers by providing quick, easy information to enhance the experience relative to storage and cloud file management. That said, with Windows 10 customers can easily opt out of receiving these notifications if they choose.”
Someone could counter Microsoft’s argument by saying, just by the virtue one bought the machine the operating system is running on, you have paid the price of admission. And Microsoft or any Operating Systems vendor running ads is an intrusion into the user’s expectation of better experience.
When you look at it from a friendly competition point of view, Microsoft is literally pushing its services in front of the competition on a platform it has unfair advantages. Competitors like Dropbox and Google Drive can’t reach that level of consumer enticement as OneDrive can, and it is bound to sway people new to cloud storage to pick Microsoft product over the competition.
The File Explorer becomes the latest platform where Microsoft has done the unthinkable. First, it was the Windows 10 lock screen, then the Start Menu, and you would occasionally see some pop up at the taskbar.