Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 24th May 2016 22:52 UTC

Update: it happened again today. Here's the ad, and here's the "proof" it's coming from Word (when you long-press the notification and tap 'i').

It's been a bit of a running theme lately: advertising in (mobile) operating systems. Today, I was surprised by what I consider a new low, involving incompetence on both Microsoft's and Google's end. This new low has been eating away at me all day.

Let's give a bit of background first. On my smartphone, a Nexus 6P, I have Word, Excel, and PowerPoint installed. I have these installed for my work - I run my translation company, and when new work comes in through e-mail when I'm out and about, I like being able to quickly look at a document before accepting it. Microsoft Office for Android fulfills this role for me. This means I don't actually use them very often - maybe a few times a week.

Imagine my surprise, then, when this happened. Yes, I'm linking to the full screenshot in its full, glorious, Nexus 6P 1440x2560 brilliance.

I have a few questions. First, why is Microsoft sending me an advertisement in my notification tray? Second, why is Word sending me an advertisement for Excel? Third, why is this allowed by Google, even though the Play Store rules prohibit it? Fourth A, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already have installed? Fourth B, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already use? Fourth C, why is Microsoft sending me advertisements for products I already pay for because I have an Office 365 subscription? Fifth, who in their right mind at Microsoft thought this was not a 100%, utterly, completely, deeply, ridiculously, unequivocally, endlessly, exquisitely invasive, stupid, aggravating, off-putting, infuriating, and pointless thing to do?

I know both Android and iOS suffer from scummy applications abusing the notification tray for advertising, and I know both Google and Apple have rules that prohibit this that they do not enforce, but I didn't think I'd run into it because... Well, I use only proper, honest applications, right? I don't use the scummy ones? I pay for my applications?


I think it's time to start enforcing these rules.

Oh, and Microsoft? I haven't forgotten about BeOS. It's not like you have a lot of goodwill to mess around with here.

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nice image of Thom living with a google-phone while complaining about apple's so-called advertising problems.

you are funny. good image.

but you don't seem to understand the difference between the message I'm typing to you now and a message brought to you by advertisers.

you also don't seem to understand the difference between a message generated from a piece of software you own - and use - about another piece of software, and an outside entity using your personal profile to push random products on you.

It's a false equivalency. Turn the tables and see how you feel -- imagine Apple made all their revenue from advertising, ie. selling their user base's eyeballs the highest bidders in as many places as possible. Everything this apple put out is free as long as you agreed to be tracked and advertised to by anyone and everyone upon use. Free free free, right?

Google, on the other hand, sold you a device and platform for good money that removed or reduced outside advertising wherever possible. To find "advertising" on the google device you'd have to look for things like apps promoting other apps in the system tray, or apps that you opted to install pushing text notifications at you, but other than that you can be sure that you are by design not an advertising customer, you are a computer user. Any tracking and accounts you take part in is by choice, not forced from the OS.

Something tells me you wouldn't spend much time beating up that Google. You'd laud them.

This scenario is ridiculous though - since Apple is a tech company masquerading as a lifestyle brand, and google is an advertising company masquerading as a tech company.

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