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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Microsoft succumbs to public outrage, removes some ads from Windows 11 Weather app

Microsoft recently discontinued the standalone Weather UWP app for Windows 11 in favor of the web-based MSN.com weather web page.

PWAs are gaining popularity because of their efficient use of caching, which allows them to be smaller and use less bandwidth than traditional desktop or UWP apps. The switch to a PWA, however, has resulted in in-app advertising and a significant slowdown.

After the update, both free users and Microsoft 365 subscribers saw an increase in advertising on the previously ad-free Weather client. Many Weather app users vented their frustrations about the “ads” in the app in the Feedback Hub.

Microsoft has quietly decided to remove the update from the app’s home screen in response to the widespread backlash it received on social media and its feedback platform.

This means that the Weather app’s home screen no longer displays banner ads. However, we found that it persists on other Windows 11 Weather pages, including the forecast page and Life (Health and Safety dashboard), in our tests.

Windows 11 Weather app homepage
The Weather app’s home page no longer features advertisements. | Photo: Thewindowsfan.com

Recognizing the concerns many have raised on social media, the tech giant hopes to find a middle ground between user experience and revenue generation.

Windows 11 Weather app homepage
The Weather app’s home page no longer features advertisements. | Photo: Thewindowsfan.com

Although we haven’t heard anything official from Microsoft, we’ve been told that the ads will be visible in the Weather app on all Windows versions. Both Windows 11 and Windows 10 are covered here. According to the same source, these advertisements will be targeted based on your interests, with cookies from your MSN history being used to do so.

Ads in apps like Weather are disappointing, despite Microsoft’s efforts to show it values user feedback by reducing them in one of the inbox apps.

Ads in other apps like Microsoft Edge

Microsoft is ramping up its efforts to place advertisements on the desktop.

Previous in the year, Microsoft tried out a banner in Chromium Edge as an experiment  that blocks the download of Google Chrome with a full-screen advertisement for Microsoft’s browser.

Edge’s address bar displays a second alert that looks like a pop-up and activating Google Bard’s AI chat prompts (Bing). You can safely ignore the warning this time around and keep using Bard, but the next time you access Google’s assistant, the same message will appear again.

A quick look at Feedback Hub reveals that Windows ad frustration is on the rise amongst users. Microsoft has come under fire for its intrusive full-screen ads, which some say will discourage users from switching to Edge and other native apps.

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