Microsoft makes embarrassing Windows 11 U-turn after user revolt over ads

Cartoon of a student getting angry at their laptop
(Image credit: studiostoks / Shutterstock)

It looks like complaining can work, as it appears that Microsoft has pulled a U-turn when it comes to cramming one of Windows 11’s most popular apps with ads.

As Windows Latest reports, Microsoft had recently changed the Weather app in Windows 11 to be based on the MSN website’s weather service. While this ordinarily wouldn’t have been too controversial, as web-based apps can take up less storage space and run more quickly than traditional Windows apps, Microsoft still found a way of annoying users by adding ads into what was once an ad-free app.

This isn’t the first time Microsoft has riled up users by forcing ads into its products, but it looks like this time it went too far, with the backlash on social media and via Microsoft’s feedback site causing the company to quietly drop ads from the app – or at least in some of the app.

On the home screen, you’ll no longer see ads in the app. However, as Windows Latest noticed, and I’ve confirmed, if you click on another page in the app, such as ‘Forecasts’, there are still ads.

Screenshot showing ads remain in some parts of the Weather app in Windows 11

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Also, if you click ‘See full forecast’ from the Weather widget, you’ll end up on the MSN weather website, which also shows ads. Annoyingly, this also opens in Microsoft’s Edge web browser, and if you don’t have it set as default, you’ll also get a pop-up asking you to change that.

A welcome U-turn – but it’s not enough

All these adverts and nagging pop-ups can make Windows 11 feel like a chore to use, so I’m certainly glad that Microsoft seems to have taken to heart some of these criticisms.

A company listening to customer feedback and making relevant changes is always good and should be applauded. However, while I would love this to be a sign that Microsoft is re-evaluating its entire approach to ads in Windows 11, unfortunately, I don’t think that’s the case.

The fact that Microsoft quietly dropped ads from the first page of the Weather app without any acknowledgment makes me think Microsoft is not entirely fond of this move and could reintroduce ads just as quietly as it removed them.

Also, with ads only being removed from one screen in one app also leads me to think this is a move that’s not going to be replicated elsewhere – if at all. It all feels a bit like Microsoft has begrudgingly removed the bare minimum of ads.

So, despite this being a positive move, Microsoft has a lot more to do if it wants to properly address the concerns many people have about the liberties it's taking with Windows 11.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.