Let’s begin with a confession.
I use Microsoft’s Hotmail. Or, as it’s now known, Outlook.
I couldn’t be bothered to change to another email service, and I really didn’t want any more Google in my life anyway.
Hotlook has been perfectly alright over the years. It doesn’t have many breakdowns and doesn’t offer a redesign every few months.
Last week, however, a curious turn. Ads. Please, I’m not always fully conscious when I check my email, but I’d not been aware of any ads in Outlook. Ever, if I’m frank.
Yet suddenly, here was an inducement to try Edge, Microsoft’s new browser. It read: “Microsoft Edge and Outlook. Better together. Let’s go.” Because why? It didn’t say.
My primary browser is Firefox. Clearly, Microsoft isn’t happy about this. Its machines must have alerted Redmond that I hadn’t been converted to the cause.
So, here was an overt advert.
It seems I wasn’t alone in receiving one of these ads. Windows Latest had noticed them in Windows Search. Outlook users in Chrome had also apparently being graced with them.
For me, though, there was one little problem. Why is Microsoft trying to get me to download Edge when I’ve already downloaded Edge? I’ve written about it — in oddly positive tones — more than once.
I’ve even enjoyed a slight chuckle at Microsoft’s attempts to persuade Chrome web store users that their choice is unsafe and they should switch to Edge.
Naturally, I asked Microsoft why it was suddenly pushing these ads at its Outlook customers. The company didn’t offer comment. I understand, however, that this is Redmond’s attempt to, um, educate people.
Microsoft also seems to believe these ads aren’t attached to any particular browser. Just, I suppose, anyone and everyone who’s not on Outlook via Edge.
It’s actually cheering that the company feels so confident in Edge that it’s persistently pushing it.
I should also feel a strange sense of relief that Microsoft isn’t spying so closely on my MacBook Air, where the Edge icon quietly sits, only occasionally used.
Oddly, though, the adverts suddenly disappeared at the weekend. Now, they’ve come back.
Please don’t worry Microsoft. I have Edge. It’s good. I may use it more often in the future. But I don’t respond so well to nagging.