Microsoft ramps up ads on Outlook for free users

A more aggressive approach signals a push towards its £69.99 subscription service as competition in the cloud storage sector heats up.

Microsoft is putting more ads in Outlook on iOS and Android as it attempts to drive more subscriptions to its premium Microsoft 365 subscription.

Previously, Outlook on mobile had two layout options for setting either a focused inbox with two categories (focused and other) or a single inbox with all emails.

Free users could only see ads when checking this Other tab, but the app now shows ads to users who have the Focused Inbox option disabled as well.

Microsoft designed the to look very much like emails with a small "Ad" tag.Once opened, it uses the in-app browser to display the ad content.

Microsoft is not the only major email provider to serve these types of ads in email apps. Google and Yahoo also do this in their web-based experiences where users see small banner ads in your inbox.

Microsoft has been increasing the number of ads free users of the Outlook app see for a few months as a means to both drive up ad revenue and encourage premium subscriptions.

A Microsoft 365 subscription will remove the ads from the Outlook app on Android or iOS. A 'Personal' subscription costs $69.99 per year and includes access to Microsoft Office apps, a number of premium features for Outlook, and 1TB of cloud storage.bA 'Family' plan is $99.99 and offers the same for up to six people.