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Microsoft Will Stop Spamming Android Users With Office Ads In The Notification Tray (betanews.com) 110

An anonymous reader writes from a report via BetaNews: The notification tray in Android serves a very specific purpose. There's a clue in the name -- and it's nothing to do with advertising. Android user Thom Holwerda was upset this week when Microsoft Office for Android started to spam him with ads for apps he already had installed. There are many questions here, one of which is why is Microsoft ignoring Google's guidelines and using the notification tray to display ads? Thom, from the website OSnews, found that the copy of Word he had installed on his Nexus 6P was spamming him with ads for Excel and Powerpoint -- which he was already using. Mark Wilson from BetaNews contacted Microsoft and they said, "Our team is actively investigating the occurrences of these notifications." After pressing further into the issue, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "Microsoft is deeply committed to ensuring that we maintain the best possible experience for our customers in addition to complying with all applicable policies. We have taken the action to turn off these notifications. This update will be reflected in the coming days." In other semi-related news, users can now remove the 260-character path length limit in the Windows 10 build 14352.
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Microsoft Will Stop Spamming Android Users With Office Ads In The Notification Tray

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    The kindle app spams the notification bar too.

    • Yep. I figured it was just a fluke the first time it happened. Uninstalled Kindle immediately after the second occurrence. Sucks for amazon because I consume a ton of ebooks on my phone. I'll continue to manage my own ebook library and manually pull .epubs off my calibre server into aldiko rather than put up with an app that spams the notification bar.
  • Uhoh (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "Microsoft is deeply committed to ensuring that we maintain the best possible experience for our customers in addition to complying with all applicable policies. "

    Uhoh, so that means they won't quit spamming you in the Notification Center, and clicking the close X will instead take you to the play store page for office.
    Likely they will make sure there are 10-20 chime reminder sounds that will play too whenever the ad spam is onscreen.

    After the next update they will raise he price of their apps and install m

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @06:19AM (#52215691)

    People don't like being spammed with ads in any notification tray. Learn your lesson, Microsoft. This applies to GWX every bit as much as it applies to Office.

    • People don't like being spammed with ads in any notification tray. Learn your lesson, Microsoft.

      Sorry to be cynical, but exactly how will Microsoft "learn its lesson" here? That phrase is usually accompanied by a punishment (or at least a threat of one).

      But it's not like Microsoft will actually be "punished" for this. It's not like their sales of MS Office will go down significantly because of this. Microsoft has been selling a bloated office software suite for 20 years, and reasonable free alternatives have been available for at least a decade -- but every time this comes up here, you have a hun

  • Some day when our neural implants wake us up at 3am with notifications full of advertising spam, we'll all laugh and pine for the good old days when we could simply ignore the phone and go back to bed. We're already tumbling down the slippery slope. They can pretend to care and apologize all they want, we know the truth.

    • Some day when our neural implants wake us up at 3am with notifications full of advertising spam, we'll all laugh and pine for the good old days when we could simply ignore the phone and go back to bed. We're already tumbling down the slippery slope. They can pretend to care and apologize all they want, we know the truth.

      I am reminded of this:

      Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"

      Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on b

      • Ads have gotten so bad that there seems to be a bit of a backlash lately, so there is hope. Ad-blocking has become mainstream, and I find the web to be a nightmare when I am on a device without it.

        We cut the cord more out of frustration with ads than for cost. I'd rather watch old reruns on Netflix and pay the extra $4 a month for the mostly ad-free Hulu option than watch free TV with excessive inundation of ads. Fighting the losing tide against keeping Windows 10 off my home PC is more about fighting th

    • Venus, Inc.

      by Frederik Pohl, C.M. Kornbluth

      Subliminal ads projected onto your retinae. A very good and topical read. Published in 1984 no less. Think I'll go have a venus cola now, suddenly I have a craving.

  • Yeah, right? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @06:26AM (#52215711)

    FTA: "Microsoft is deeply committed to ensuring that we maintain the best possible experience for our customers". This from the company that brought us trickery-based forced 'upgrades' to Windows 10? Who are they trying to fool?

    Why do companies bother to say this kind of crap? Do they think we believe them? Is it a nervous tic? Maybe the marketing droid equivalent of boilerplate legal disclaimers? These assholes should really listen to themselves some time. Then again, self examination is clearly not something they're willing or able to do.

    Maybe corporate person-hood, along with the legal rights it bestows, should also allow for corporations to be locked up in psych wards until their sociopathic / psychotic / schizophrenic symptoms and behaviours are under control and they're judged fit to return to society.

    • It's the corporate version of dictatorships holding elections. Nobody believes them but they feel they have to do it anyway.
    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Why do companies bother to say this kind of crap?

      Because it works, so why should they NOT do it? This is just another "If it is stupid and it works, it is not stupid." Enough people either do not care or buy into it and that is all that matters.
      Looking at their bank account, I don't think they are doing that bad.

      And talking about the marketing droid equivalent of boilerplate legal disclaimers, what about that company that said customers held their phone wrong. I am sure people left THAT company by the milli

    • Why do companies bother to say this kind of crap?

      Because "we eat babies" doesn't look good on the annual shareholder report?

      Do they think we believe them?

      Ask the Trump supporters. I mean this is Slashdot but lets face it the world is absolutely full of gullible people. Companies make statements like this because paying someone $70k per year to draft up lipservice actually pays off due the the aforementioned stupidity of the human race.

      • by lgw ( 121541 )

        Ask the Trump supporters.

        Please take your political tribal signalling to Reddit, where it belongs.

        • Are you saying people don't believe trump and are lying in the polls or that Trump will actually do anything he claims he's going to do because in that case I'll ask people to mod you +5 funny.

      • Hell, /. if full of ignorant and gullible people who will believe anything their "party" says. "Party" in this case being used in the broadest sense possible to include political, vim/emacs, systemd/init, and so on.

        Always assume that what someone is telling you is bullshit unless there is evidence for it, that goes for what you tell yourself as well.
      • Ask the Trump supporters.

        Yeah, because Trump is the Devil, and Hillary is God!

        God, grow up already, you are insulting yourself by posting that garbage.

    • The needle has moved too far to one side. MS has entered the era of "consumers are ad consumers" -- Windows 10 "spams" ads in the notification tray all the time. After upgrading to Win10 I was constantly presented with "Get Office365 today - cheap!" - like multiple times. Apparently the same team was in charge of Android platform too.

      When I type in the name of a program in the Start-bar - my work computer (Win7) provides results nearly instantaneously. My home PC (similar horsepower) running Win10 b

    • Because corporations never say "yup, we're guilty, we're embarrassed that you called us on it, we are currently undergoing ethics training."

    • by imidan ( 559239 )

      Why do companies bother to say this kind of crap?

      People tell lies all the time, and most of them don't bother me that much. Politicians lie, and I get it. They tell lies that people want to hear so they can get elected. White lies smooth social interactions. All kinds of lies. But this particular lie really pisses me off.

      It often starts with words like 'To better serve our customers' or 'For your convenience' and then it says something that makes my life worse and less convenient. And it's so goddamn transparent.

      'To better serve our customers, we ar

    • So .. never, then?
  • Android (Score:5, Informative)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @06:27AM (#52215713) Homepage

    One of the beauties of Android?

    You can just "turn off notifications" on a per-app basis. It's literally like one press-hold and one click from any notification you see.

    • by mwvdlee ( 775178 )

      The problem with this is that these apps may use actual notifications as well, which you'd also no longer be seeing.

      • Re:Android (Score:5, Informative)

        by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @07:32AM (#52215909) Homepage

        What possible notification could I actually want/need from WORD, FFS? It's a word processor, not a godsdamned calendar.

        • Re:Android (Score:4, Funny)

          by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @08:51AM (#52216241) Homepage Journal

          [Clippy] "GPS positioning indicates you've spent past 4 hours at an establishment known to serve liquors, and you seem to be texting a contact named 'ex'. Would you like me to assist you in editing the text message?"

        • by c ( 8461 )

          Cloud stuff, if you use it.

          Google Drive/Docs will notify (if you want) about cloud uploads/downloads of documents in some cases. For example, if you set some large documents to be available offline they can take some time to be available.

          I assume MS does something similar, but for all I know it's just there for Clippy.

    • I didn't know you could do that, thanks! That makes tracking down that garbage much easier, so that I know what to delete.
  • I got the notification spam from Microsoft apps too, and the solution was simple. I disabled any notification for the offending apps in Android. When I want to work on a document I open it. There is no need for notifications of any kind in this type of application. So in a classic example of cry wolf, Microsoft has made it so that I will no longer get any notifications from their apps.
    • A better solution is to report the app and uninstall it. If enough do so, Google might annoy Microsoft by removing it from the store.

  • was the first thing i disabled on my samsung when i got it, along with office apps there is onedrive and onenote and skype, all of which had their permissions removed and disabled from running, i would uninstall them completely if i could do it without rooting my phone, i did not know samsung included so much third party crapware so now my next cellphone will be a Nexus and hopefully google will not include microsoft's products pre-installed
  • by Knightman ( 142928 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @07:28AM (#52215899)

    All the shit Microsoft have pulled the last year only mean that a lot of people gets pissed off.

    Microsoft has become that guy in the office nobody can stand because he is a total asshole but they have to deal with him on a daily basis anyway - which means when they get the chance to get rid of him they will.

  • by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @07:35AM (#52215925)

    In other semi-related news, users can now remove the 260-character path length limit in the Windows 10 build 14352."

    How the fuck is that even remotely related?

  • Slashdot is not your personal blog.

  • ...There are many questions here, one of which is why is Microsoft ignoring Google's guidelines and using the notification tray to display ads?...

    Probably for the same reason that Microsoft is ignoring their own guidelines and making the "X" dismissal of a dialog box mean "OK, do it". [theinquirer.net]

    .
    Microsoft is starting to look desperate for ongoing customers, and they have realized they cannot compete when they stay within the guidelines that everyone else respects..

  • Marketing can never see a message delivered, be it a pop-up, pop-under, tray message, anything, as a failure.

    Every impression is a success.

    But the rest of the product team should be more circumspect, and recognize this for what it is - abuse.

    QA is dead to me, Agile notwithstanding.

    • The rest of the product team is aware that this is unacceptable, they just have to go with it because the boss mandated the feature.
      QA probably verified that the ads came up when they should
  • "Our team is actively investigating the occurrences of these notifications."

    So their app is pushing advertisements for other apps of theirs? What is this supposed to be? A glitch?
  • by Burstaholic ( 2593655 ) on Tuesday May 31, 2016 @10:10AM (#52216661)

    I had to uninstall the version of Office that came with Windows 10 to get rid of the 'Upgrade Office Today!' notifications. I upgraded to LibreOffice, of course.

  • Here's all you need to know:

    Microsoft doesn't care what its users want, Microsoft cares about what Microsoft wants.

    And now you know everything there is to know about Microsoft.

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