In recent efforts to promote his AI assistant, Copilot, Microsoft implemented a strategy that backfired. Windows 11 users have come across a large QR code displayed directly on their lock screens. Scanning the code redirected them to Copilot’s website, which further prompted downloads of dedicated mobile apps. However, this approach has drawn criticism from a segment of the user base.

Microsoft pauses Copilot promotion on Windows 11 lock screen after user backlash

The main point of contention was the unexpected nature of the promotion. The QR code appeared without accompanying explanation or prior announcement via official release notes. This perceived lack of transparency, combined with a prominent location on the lock screen, has led some users on platforms like Reddit to express the feeling of being bombarded with unwanted ads.

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Microsoft, after receiving feedback from users, clarified its intentions. In a statement to Neowin, the company positioned the QR code as an educational tool aimed at informing users about Copilot and its potential benefits. They emphasized their commitment to user experience and willingness to adapt based on user adoption. The full statement read: “The notification was simply a way to educate users and has since been discontinued. We value our customers’ experience and are always learning to determine what is most valuable and for whom.”

Following this response, Microsoft stopped the lock screen-based promotion of Copilot. While the company maintains its focus on user education, the incident highlights the ongoing challenge of balancing product promotion with user experience within the Windows 11 ecosystem. Going forward, Microsoft is likely to explore alternative strategies to promote Copilot that are both informative, and respecting user preferences.

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Microsoft Pauses Copilot Promotion on Windows 11 Lock Screen