Some users with phones running Android Q beta have noticed that Microsoft is trying to force its apps down their throats. Although this problem doesn’t appear to be new, and the Redmond based company first started this sneaky advertisement practice back in April, it has become rampant with the recently launched Your Phone app.
What happens is that when people try to use Android’s 'share' and 'open with' features, some Microsoft apps that they haven’t even installed are also displayed.
If you are an Android user, you are probably already aware of the fact that when the share feature is tapped for any kind of content, a list of options is shown such as WhatsApp or Instagram contacts you frequently interact with, to speed up the process. Up until now, the apps that were shown were the ones that were already there on a device, but now Microsoft is advertising its OneDrive app there, in a bid to get you to install it.
Below the app, within parentheses, the word ‘install’ can be seen and choosing the option will redirect you to the Google Play Store so that you can download the company’s cloud storage solution. Apparently, the company is using the apps that are already installed on a device to insert this new function in the menu.
Similarly, ads have been injected into the open with menu as well. This means that when someone tries to load a file, they will be given the option to use Microsoft’s app such as PowerPoint or Excel, depending on the file format they are trying to open.
So, for instance, if you are trying to open a file with the .docx format, you will be encouraged to use Microsoft Word, but as in the prior instance, the brackets will read install, signaling that the app is not already there on your device and you will have to download it.
Needless to say, this is a kind of coercive advertisement and is really annoying to some users. The share menu, in particular, is already really crowded, and Microsoft has now made it worse. Moreover, the company is also inspiring other developers to go the same route.
For now, there seems to be no way of hiding options that you don’t use. Moreover, you can also not reset them manually in order to put the most frequently used targets at the top. However, this might change when Android Q is rolled out officially as the way apps are shown in open with and share menus is getting changed.
Bill Gates recently revealed that he considers losing to Android his biggest mistake and it appears that Microsoft is now trying to make do with whatever it has and shoving its apps in people’s faces in a bid to increase its app market share.
The aforementioned Your Phone app allows users to view their Android phone notifications on their Windows 10 PC. It can certainly be helpful for people who are on their computers all day, as they wouldn’t have the go back and forth between their handsets and PCs to keep up with everything.
However, this sneaky advertisement practice can surely be a turnoff and might even backfire, as some consumers might decide against installing the app if they find such ads irksome.