Buying Microsoft Office 2021 and not the subscription-based Microsoft 365, is a deliberate choice for many users. Some prefer to pay once for a product instead of having to pay each month for it.image credit: Lee Holmes
Imagine the surprise of an Office 2021 customer who is greeted with an advertisement for Microsoft 365 in Office 2021. Twitter user Lee Holmes was the first to experience the ad and he published a screenshot of it on Twitter.
The ad, displayed as a single line in Word 2021, offered three months of Microsoft 365 Family for a discounted price to Holmes.
Limited Time Offer Get 3 months of Microsoft 365 Family for only $$0.99
The double-$$ is no typo, Microsoft's ad uses it exactly like that. It appears that Microsoft is experimenting with different ads, likely to find out the one that converts the best. According to Bleeping Computer, others saw the following ad in Office 2021:
For just $$0.99, get 3 months of Microsoft 365 Family and share with up to 5 people. It is like getting six subscriptions in one. TERMS APPLY
Attempts to make Office 2021 show ads on several test systems failed. The campaign could be limited to certain regions or other metrics.
Holmes, who is a Principal Security Architect at Microsoft, felt disappointed when he saw the advertisement in Office 2021. Apart from crossing a line by displaying ads in a commercial product, one has to wonder how successful this particular campaign can be.
The customer has bought Microsoft Office 2021 already, the latest perpetual version of Office. A Microsoft 365 subscription provides access to Office tools as well. The main benefits are that the Office programs provided through a Microsoft 365 subscription are not limited to a single device and that OneDrive storage is raised to 1 Terabyte. A Microsoft 365 Family plan gives these benefits to up to six people.
The use of ads is increasing
The promotional message in Office 2021 is the latest in an ever growing series of ads in Microsoft products. Microsoft displayed advertisement in File Explorer to some Windows Insider users earlier this year.
In 2021, Microsoft pushed an advertisement to Windows 11 Insider systems for Microsoft Teams that caused systems to hang.
In 2020, Microsoft added listings to Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word to the Start Menu of Windows and the list of installed programs, without any action on part of the system administrator or user. These were shortcuts to Office Web Applications.
In 2018, ads were displayed in the Mail client, which Microsoft later claimed were experimental only.
Advertisement for OneDrive was also displayed in File Explorer, and there may be ads when Windows users search for other browsers in the Start Menu.
It appears, that Microsoft executives have discovered a new way of promoting other company products and services to customers, and that the use is increasing.
Now You: No-go or brilliant marketing? What is your take on this?
Microsoft displays ads to some Office 2021 users
Microsoft has started to display advertisement for its Microsoft 365 subscription service to users of Microsoft Office 2021.
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