New Microsoft is certainly demonstrating its ability to surprise with the announcement that as of today, Americans can make digital purchases on the Windows Phone, Windows and Xbox marketplaces by funding their Microsoft account with Bitcoins.
TechCrunch has reported that this doesn’t mean Microsoft accepts Bitcoins as direct payment, but rather that US users can add funds to their Microsoft Account wallets by selecting Bitcoin as a payment option in denominations ranging from $10 to a maximum of $100.
Helpfully, Microsoft has placed a step-by-step guide on how to go about it here for those who’d like a little more detail about the actual process. Interestingly, in the section titled “Some things to keep in mind” it is stated that people who add funds to their Microsoft accounts with Bitcoin aren’t eligible for refunds once a transaction using that money has taken place.
Microsoft hasn’t formally announced the move yet, but the new functionality was picked up by Bitcoin-tracking website Coindesk. They say it has come about as a result of “an integration with Georgia-based Bitcoin processor BitPay”, and that a formal announcement will be forthcoming in the future.
If nothing else, this shows just how different Microsoft is these days. Under previous leaders, I’d have expected them to attempt to create (and control) their very own cryptocurrency (M$, anyone?) rather than integrate an existing one into their ecosystem, but apparently Satya Nadella and his management team are a lot more flexible.
Should this move prove successful and popular, I don’t think it’s a stretch that we’ll see it rolled out to Xbox and Windows stores in other regions in the next year or so.[Source and image – TechCrunch]