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Microsoft: File Explorer ads in Windows 11 were an accident... kind of

A couple of days ago, we reported that Microsoft has started showing ads for its own services in File Explorer present in Insider builds of Windows 11. The ads weren't being shown to everyone, leading many to believe that Microsoft is A/B testing their integration ahead of general rollout. This obviously sparked lots of outrage the comment section of Neowin too. Now, Microsoft has provided some clarification on the controversial move.

A mockup of File Explorer app in Windows 11 with tons of ads
Not a real screenshot (yet)

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft has noted that the release of ads in File Explorer was unintentional. Senior Program Manager for Windows Brandon LeBlanc issued the following brief statement:

This was an experimental banner that was not intended to be published externally and was turned off.

The statement is slightly concerning though, because Microsoft doesn't completely rule out the possibility of ads being shown in generally available (GA) versions of File Explorer in the future. They were published by accident this time, but there's no knowing if they will be intentionally published a few weeks or months from now.

The latest spotted instance of a File Explorer ad saw Microsoft promoting its Microsoft Editor extension. In the past, the firm has also tried to insert ads for OneDrive in File Explorer, but faced backlash for it. People will likely push back against ads in File Explorer again if Microsoft does continue down this path in GA versions of Windows 11, but it will be interesting to see if the company pays any heed to feedback in this regard. It is already trying to heavily monetize inbox Windows 11 applications with expensive subscription plans.

Source: The Verge

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