Installing a Microsoft mobile app might make ads show up all over your phone

Microsoft's Android apps might be advertising against Google's Play Store policies

  • Microsoft’s Android mobile apps might be in violation of Google’s Play Store advertising policies.
  • One you have downloaded one Microsoft app — like One Drive — prompts to download other apps will reportedly show up on your Android share sheet.
  • Google ad policies state that, “Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them.”
Microsoft’s mobile apps in the Play Store might be in violation of Google’s policies with ads showing up outside of the apps — like on your share sheet.

A lot of Microsoft’s Android mobile apps — like OneDrive and Your Phone Companion — are free to download from the Google Play Store.

The aim of Microsoft’s mobile apps might be to help users connect their smartphone activity with their personal computers but the way they have been pushing ads might be in violation of Google’s policies according to XDA developers.

But, while in-app ads are allowed by Google, there are issues when these apps start penetrating other parts of your smartphone.

Ads must only be displayed within the app serving them.

The Google ad policy


What’s wrong with ads?

This isn’t the first time that a tech giant has been caught in the cross hairs of ad fraud.

In the past Google has reprimanded big wigs like Cheetah Mobile, Kika Tech — the mobile publishers behind apps like Clean Master, Battery Doctor, CM Locker — and others for not keeping with the dictated ad monetization process.

In Microsoft’s case, a reddit user spotted a OneDrive install link on his share sheet after installing the Your Phone Companion app. This shows two parts to the problem.

One, Microsoft should be declaring that they will be sharing ads like this. And, two, broadcasting the share target goes against the Google Play Store rules.


OneDrive install pops on Android's share sheet after installing Your Phone CompanionReddit

As of now, Microsoft is the only company engaging in such advertising tactics, so the interference is fairly limited. But image opening your share menu to find a whole host of ‘app suggestions’ crowding out the options you already use.

If other app developers jump on the bandwagon, it could be a likely scenario in the near future.

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