Microsoft Is Testing Ads in the Windows 11 Start Menu

Microsoft Is Testing Ads in the Windows 11 Start Menu

It’s a new week and we’ve learned that Microsoft is testing ads in the Windows 11 start menu, adding to the list of recent changes its made to its products.

The ads being served up to beta testers now are for Microsoft Store-listed products – not necessarily apps owned by the Beast of Redmond, but from other companies, such as 1Password.

Microsoft has a history of making changes to its products, which includes and not limited to time that Microsoft included pop-up ads for Bing, the other time it included pop-up ads for Bing, the time it put ads into the settings menu, its scrapped ads in File Explorer, its approach to OneDrive, and that other time it tried rolling out ads in the Start Menu.

This time, though, things are a little different. All of those examples were in relation to other Microsoft-owned products, and through that lens, you might be fine with it, you could see it as equivalent to how Apple promotes its services on iOS, such as iCloud, Apple Music, and Apple TV, through the normal functions of the device.

An example of how ads will show on the Start Menu. Image: Microsoft

Now look, to be fair, it’s not the most explicit kind of ad that Microsoft could include in the Start Menu. It’s a simple promoted widget for qualifying Windows Store applications, as shown above.

It’s also, again, currently being rolled out to beta users in the U.S., with the option to disable the widget with the “Show recommendations for tips, app promotions, and more” toggle in the Start Menu section of Settings. It’s also disabled for commercial computers.

You can also be like me and disable the ‘Recommended’ sub-section of the Start Menu altogether, though perhaps you like having your recently-used apps and files pop up.

“As a reminder, we regularly try out new experiences and concepts that may never get released with Windows Insiders to get feedback,” Microsoft said in a blog post.

So there’s the chance we’ll never actually see this ‘feature’ on the consumer side. Anyway. A Windows 11 licence costs $179, though the price may vary depending on the vendor.

Image: Gizmodo Australia

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