Computer Business Review

Bing’s Bitcoin exchange rate a “gimmick”

by Joe Curtis| 12 February 2014

IDC says the addition of the digital currency to Bing’s converter is Microsoft trying to be in touch.

Microsoft's inclusion of Bitcoin to its Bing currency converter has been labelled a "gimmick".

The tech giant's search engine added support for the digital medium of exchange this week, meaning people can quickly see how much any fiat currency is worth in bitcoins at the click of a button.

But IDC slammed Bitcoin's inclusion on Bing's converter as insubstantial, saying it is an example of Microsoft trying to become trendy again.

Analyst Alex Kwiatkowski, head of IDC's Financial Insights European arm, told CBR: "It's a nice touch to see Bing offering a bitcoin-specific conversion rate, but at the moment it's more gimmick than anything substantial."

"I get the sense that the folks at Microsoft are just surfing on the current wave of interest [in virtual currency], rather than betting the proverbial farm on them. Given that Microsoft has historically missed the boat on key tech innovations and trends, this is an example of it trying to be in-touch with developments rather than idling behind everyone else."

Nevertheless, Microsoft has beaten Google to the punch in adding the currency to its converter, meaning people can type in queries like '40 btc to usd' or '40 Bitcoins pounds' to find out how much 40 bitcoins are worth in American cash or British sterling.

There are no signs yet that Microsoft is willing to accept payments in Bitcoin, with a company spokesman telling media: "We are focusing on the conversion of Bitcoin at this time and don't have anything else to share."

Founder Bill Gates said in a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything session: "Digital money has low transaction costs, which are great for the poor because they need to do financial transactions with small amounts of money.

"Over the next 5 years, digital money is likely to catch on in India and parts of Africa and help the poorest a lot."

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