Microsoft can’t stop inserting advertisements into Windows 10. The latest experimental advertisement appears in WordPad. It’s a banner inviting you to use Office’s web apps instead of the included WordPad application.
Rafael Rivera discovered the ads and revealed them on Twitter. There are several variants, but they all invite you to try Word, Excel, or PowerPoint online. There’s an “Open Word” or “Open Office” button that will open Microsoft’s Office web apps in your browser.
BREAKSCLUSIVE: Microsoft WordPad is getting a new feature! An ad for Office web apps!
Screenshot shows 6 experimental variants.
vso/tfs id 23834136
variants 1-6 pic.twitter.com/TdYOuKkLZc
— Rafael Rivera (@WithinRafael) January 20, 2020
While ads in WordPad don’t feel great, they’re not totally crazy. Microsoft’s Office web apps are free—you just have to sign in with a Microsoft account—and some people trying WordPad might be happier with the Microsoft Word web app instead. They’re a capable alternative to Google Docs.
But, in spite of that rationale, this ad still feels out of place. Maybe this advertisement would feel more restrained if Microsoft hadn’t spent years pushing Candy Crush and subscription-based Solitaire to Windows 10 users.
These ads aren’t actually part of the stable version of Windows 10 yet. They appear in some Insider Preview builds of Windows 10, and they’re not activated by default for most Insiders. Still, Microsoft is clearly experimenting with ads in WordPad, just as the company experimented with ads in Windows 10’s Mail app before backing down.