Microsoft is phasing out pop-up ads from its websites around the world.

The software titan says it will stop offering advertisers pop-up facilities on its global network of MSN sites after research showed how unpopular they were with web users.

A study by Forrester Research revealed that 64% of US surfers think the ads are irritating and 28% would not visit a site that used them.

Microsoft announced an end to pop-ups on its US sites last year. It recently did the same in the UK, and has now revealed its European operations will take the same steps in the coming months. In other regions, it will be left to the local MSN site to decide how and when pop-ups will be banished.

MSN UK commercial director Chris Ward claims the company is ready to let ad revenues fall in the short term to allow future growth.

He added: "We took soundings from our business partners and it's clear that a lot of them are beginning to realise there are more creative ways of getting messages across and you don't have to bash people across the head with these formats."

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff