Microsoft puts more ads in Outlook app, makes them look like emails

Anyone who uses the Outlook app for email sees more ads, and frustratingly, Microsoft made them look like emails.

As The Verge reports, Microsoft has been increasing the number of ads free users of the Outlook app see for a few months now. You can enable “Focused Inbox” to limit the ads shown, but there will still be an “Other” tab for email that Microsoft didn’t consider important enough to include in the focused list. Either way, you will see more ads.

More ads is frustrating, but Microsoft also designed them to be a lot like emails. With the exception of a small “Ad” tag, you’d be forgiven for clicking on them thinking you’re going to read a legitimate email. If you open one, it uses the app’s browser to display the content of the ad.

Of course, these ads will never end up in a spam folder, and swipe to remove them only does so temporarily. Some Outlook users, like Nick Smiththey are particularly upset about this.

Microsoft offers a way to get around the ads, but as you’ve probably guessed, it involves spending money. A Microsoft 365 subscription will remove ads from the Outlook app on Android or iOS. A personal subscription costs $69.99 per year and includes access to Microsoft Office apps, several premium features for Outlook, and 1TB of cloud storage. A family plan costs $99.99 and offers the same for up to six people.

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