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 1440×2560 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.
I’ve noticed several of the Android apps I use (even the legit, well known ones) spamming my notification area with crap. Not necessarily straight up ads… more like those ‘newsletter’ emails that companies send, which nobody asked for or wanted, which are basically just ads in disguise.
But from an advertiser’s perspective, your reaction absolutely confirmed their strategy. Not only did you bring attention to their ad, but you got me (and no doubt others) to look at it.
My hat’s off to Microsoft. Well played, ladies and gentlemen. Well played.