Buying Microsoft Office 2021 and not Microsoft 365 by subscription is a deliberate choice for many users. Some prefer to pay once for a product instead of having to pay for it every month.
Imagine the surprise of an Office 2021 customer who is greeted by an advertisement for Microsoft 365 in Office 2021. Twitter User Lee Holmes was the first to see the announcement and he posted a screenshot of it on Twitter.
The ad, displayed as a single line in Word 2021, offered three months of Microsoft 365 Family at a discounted price to Holmes.
Limited Time Offer Get 3 months of Microsoft 365 Family for just $0.99
The double-$$ is not a typo, Microsoft’s announcement uses it exactly like that. It looks like Microsoft is experimenting with different ads, likely to find the one that converts the best. According beeping computerothers have seen the following announcement in Office 2021:
For just $0.99, get 3 months of Microsoft 365 Family and share with up to 5 people. It’s like having six subscriptions in one. TERMS APPLY
Attempts to get Office 2021 to show ads on several test systems have failed. The campaign may be limited to certain regions or other parameters.
Holmes, who is senior security architect at Microsoft, felt disappointed when he saw the ad in Office 2021. Besides crossing a line by displaying ads in a commercial product, one has to wonder how this particular campaign can be successful.
The customer has already purchased Microsoft Office 2021, the latest perpetual version of Office. A Microsoft 365 subscription also provides access to Office tools. The main advantages are that Office programs delivered through a Microsoft 365 subscription are not limited to a single device and OneDrive storage is increased to 1 terabyte. A Microsoft 365 Family plan offers these benefits to up to six people.
The use of advertisements is increasing
The promotional message in Office 2021 is the latest in an ever-growing series of announcements across Microsoft products. Microsoft showed an ad in File Explorer to some Windows Insider users earlier this year.
In 2021, Microsoft ran an ad on Windows 11 Insider systems for Microsoft Teams that caused systems to crash.
In 2020, Microsoft added lists for Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word to the Windows Start menu and installed programs list, without any action from the system administrator or user. These were shortcuts to Office web applications.
In 2018, advertisements were displayed in the Mail client, which Microsoft later claimed were only experimental.
Advertising 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 looks like Microsoft executives have discovered a new way to promote other companies’ products and services to customers, and usage is growing.
Now you: No-go or brilliant marketing? What is your opinion on this?