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Bitcoin Businesses Microsoft The Almighty Buck

Microsoft Store No Longer Accepts Bitcoins As Payment (techtimes.com) 116

westlake writes: It may come as a surprise to many here [but not all! -- Ed.], but back in December 2014, Microsoft began accepting Bitcoin.as payments for apps, games, and music purchased through the Windows Store, for its Win 10, Windows Phone and Xbox customers. Big-ticket items like MS Office were excluded. The service has been quietly discontinued. Crypto-currencies may excite the geek, but the Windows Store is mass-market and middle class, and the interest just might not be there.
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Microsoft Store No Longer Accepts Bitcoins As Payment

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    I wouldn't trade Bitcoins for spyware anyway.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    How is the Microsoft Store "mass-market" or "middle class"?

  • by NotInHere ( 3654617 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:29AM (#51693749)

    I'm looking forward to clippycoin, the coin that is bound to the win32 API and windows kernel, you can only pay with it if you have microsoft windows.

  • Uh, obviously interest is not there - or at least, Microsoft's interest apparently isn't there.

    Let's face it - one quick look at Microsoft's track record and you have to wonder why Microsoft would ever even think of touching Bitcoin. Bitcoin is (ostensibly) about privacy, surely this would be antithetical to Microsoft's demonstrated business practices to date? Then again, maybe Microsoft is only just realizing what a farce the concept of Bitcoin really is.

    • If a very small percentage of folks are using it and that number is not increasing, that would be reason enough to not apply any more resources to it. Maybe others should realize what Bitcoin isn't.
    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by GLMDesigns ( 2044134 )
      What is farcical about bitcoin?

      The blockchain?

      Proof of transfer of ownership of a digital item?

      Electronic commerce?

      A distributed ledger?

      Or is it the non-fiat money part?

      There's a lot to bitcoin. You sound like a someone in the 1990s who calls the internet a toy and that it would never be part of "real" business.
      • Besides, all they had to do was to add something like BitPay to their list of accepted methods of payment. On their end, it's no different than PayPal.

      • What government stands behind it?

        (Yes, I know - answering a question with a question is bad form - but there's nothing concrete about bitcoin anyhow, so it's okay)

        • What government stands behind it?

          Why do you think that matters? No government stange behind gold. Conversely, the government of a real country stood behind the famous Zimbabwe dollar.

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            > Why do you think that matters? No government stange behind gold. Conversely, the government of a real country stood behind the famous Zimbabwe dollar.

            It matters for practicality. One can reasonably expect a vendor to accept currency backed by a modern, secure, State. One can expect reasonable stability in a currency from a modern sustained State. One can reasonably expect that State to back that currency, which means that one can be reasonably sure that they'll get a similar value from it over an exten

          • by mmell ( 832646 )
            The difference is that (even now) I'm more likely to trust the value of the Zimbabwe dollar (no, I don't understand the reference and I don't intend to look it up).

            If I were the only one, I'd be a fool and the odd man out. I've looked around - I'm not the only one. There are a lot of us - even a lot among the geek crowd - who would prefer to have some rare substance and/or lots of guys with guns to assert that what I have is really money and not just a unique and interesting encrypted dataset.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by vux984 ( 928602 )

        What is farcical about bitcoin?

        1 -Its instability.

        2- The gold-rush where wealth was distributed to speculative early adopter miners.

        3- The schisms that seem to regularly threaten to tear it apart. Including the latest one which last I read was in a stalemate and bitcoin transaction times are now starting to get out of hand.

        There's a lot to bitcoin.

        Yes, there certainly is. But that doesn't make it any less farcical TODAY.

        You sound like a someone in the 1990s who calls the internet a toy and that it would never be part of "real" business.

        An analogy there might aptly compare Bitcoin to a single BBS a precursor to what came afterwards. After all, there are more crypto currencies th

        • there are more crypto currencies than Bitcoin out there... and new ones being developed daily. 30 years from now, will anybody be using bitcoin? Or will it be a "compuserve"?

          That's true and in 30 years "Bitcoin" may not be a dominant player and, like Netscape, may cease to exist. And yet it will have played an important role in the creation of the market. If a non-fiat cryptocurrency exists and is a major player 30 years from now then Bitcoin deserves a lions share of the credit. Bitcoin is much more than simply a currency. It's a proof of concept that went viral.

          The blockchain works. One can have a distributed ledger; proof of transfer of digital assets; transfer of funds

          • by vux984 ( 928602 )

            If a non-fiat cryptocurrency exists and is a major player 30 years from now then Bitcoin deserves a lions share of the credit. Bitcoin is much more than simply a currency. It's a proof of concept that went viral.

            Sure thing, but that will not make bitcoin any less of a farce for actual transactions today.

            The blockchain works. One can have a distributed ledger; proof of transfer of digital assets; transfer of funds quickly and easily with comparatively no overhead; one can have a digital wallet and bring funds around the world (if you've ever traveled abroad you'll recognize the usefulness).

            One of bitcoins seemingly fatal shortcomings, as I see it, is that the wallets are MUCH too easy to steal. It has all this transparency and distributed leger to "prove transactions" but lacks any mechanism to prevent theft... and theft has been rampant. From MtGox and other exchanges being wiped clean, to wallet stealing malware going after individuals, etc. You can (rightfully) argue that this isn't a flaw of the bitcoin system and protocol per se... but it IS effectively a flaw of bitcoin in terms of the end user experience.

            Re the gold rush mentality. Whatever. People get excited about many things for many reasons and gold rush fever is, to me, neither good nor bad.

            I'm not bothered by people getting excited about it. I'm bothered by its early adopters and developers holding a large portion of the currency, essentially for 'free'.

            "Here is this cryptocurrency, I just invented, and me and my friends printed ourselves thousands or millions of the finite number of coins before you even heard about it. You should all use it! Then our coins will be worth something and we get super rich off it." Frankly, that reeks... and is I think one of the reasons for the proliferation of cryptocurrencies... They reason..."Bitcoin mining is hard now, and why should bitcoin early adopters get all that free hoard? If new currencyX takes off and I'm in on the ground floor.... then I can get a free hoard for myself!"

            THAT gold rush mentality is harming the entire model. Its not excitement about an "idea".

            Now, the schisms- this is a problem. But there are always such problems even if there is a central authority.

            Yet these schisms damage even neutral bitcoin user experience. When vocal MMO fans take to the forums to rail against a raid encounter script change or drop change or something, joe-rando can can still login and play and that tussle between players and developers is just background noise. Bitcoin schisms tend to paralyze or degrade the bitcoin network -- and transactions stop working properly.

            Vendors are dropping bit coin right now, because the multi-minute processing times has made the currency difficult to use and unpleasant. I wouldn't be surprised if this was the trigger that motivated MS to turn it off.

            They'd already built the code etc to support it... even if almost nobody was using it, it then has momentum just to stay the same -- someone has to actively take the steps to turn it off, publish updates, update FAQs etc, etc. Maybe processing delays were resulting repeated purchases or customer support costs or just negative feedback to the system? ...

            • One of bitcoins seemingly fatal shortcomings, as I see it, is that the wallets are MUCH too easy to steal. It has all this transparency and distributed leger to "prove transactions" but lacks any mechanism to prevent theft... and theft has been rampant. From MtGox and other exchanges being wiped clean, to wallet stealing malware going after individuals, etc. You can (rightfully) argue that this isn't a flaw of the bitcoin system and protocol per se... but it IS effectively a flaw of bitcoin in terms of the end user experience.

              Mt. Gox is less an issue of insecure wallets than insecure exchanges. (Whether due to incompetence or fraud on the part of the exchange's operators.)

              I'm confident in my wallet being secure. I'm less confident that if I die that my wife would ever be able to recover the funds. There is a serious lack of usability in the altcoin world and that is a large part in the resistance to adoption. (Something quite similar to resistance to free software. - Another thread I've been part of here on slashdot).

              "Here is this cryptocurrency, I just invented, and me and my friends printed ourselves thousands or millions of the finite number of coins before you even heard about it. You should all use it! T

              Re the

              • by vux984 ( 928602 )

                You've made a very interesting point. I don't share it. We all remember bitcoin in the early day when 12,000 bitcoin were used to buy a pizza.

                Heh, yes; but at the same time you do hear about stupidly large wallets belonging to early insiders. And while they may have lacked some of prescience or even lacked the cynicism to think like this, I think its definitely a factor in all the new crypto currencies.

                The delay in confirmation should not be an issue.

                Customers aren't going to be happy about minutes or hours delay purchasing a $1-$5 app. Not when Visa et al take 3% of the sale and approve or deny in seconds.

                • Re delay:

                  There are levels of concern. If you, as a vendor, were not concerned at all about double spending attacks then you wouldn't really care if confirmation came in 5 minutes or 50 minutes. But you (as a vendor) must be acutely aware of fraud and must protect yourself. Right now bitcoin is facing a growing pain. Does bitcoin continue being a one size fits all solution or does it focus upon larger transactions in which case there are fewer transaction and in which longer confirmations are of less i
              • Mt. Gox is less an issue of insecure wallets than insecure exchanges. (Whether due to incompetence or fraud on the part of the exchange's operators.)

                Exchanges are a vital part of any altcoin, particularly one newly distributed (and I'd say bitcoin is still at that stage). Most people are going to use altcoins as a way of transferring money, and most merchants are going to tie their altcoin prices to the prices in more conventional money, so there's going to be a lot of exchanging between altcoins and nat

            • "Here is this cryptocurrency, I just invented, and me and my friends printed ourselves thousands or millions of the finite number of coins before you even heard about it. You should all use it! Then our coins will be worth something and we get super rich off it."

              This single problem blows away the whole selling point of cryptocurrency, which is that the money supply is limited by mathematics rather than than being having to be monitored in real time by a central bank. It's as though the lucky insiders keep i

          • by KGIII ( 973947 )

            Does Bitcoin get the credit or does DigiCash get it?

            There are some big similarities with the two and some huge differences AND Chaum's DigiCash was a horrific failure but, like most things, BitCoin isn't really all that original a concept. I seem to recall that crypto.me has an interesting write-up but I'm way too lazy to go look for it. From there, you can dig into it a bit more but much of what Bitcoin does was in the lab many years ago. Some of it made it into the real world.

            One of which did not make it

            • That's a fair question. And I suppose historians, may at some point, clash over this.

              Bitcoin definitely borrowed from DigiCash (and no I don't think Chaum == Satoshi either).

              Bitcoin "borrowed" many ideas and combined them; as a proof of concept it worked; we're just now testing it's ability to adapt and grow in the "real" world.
    • Uh, obviously interest is not there - or at least, Microsoft's interest apparently isn't there.

      Let's face it - one quick look at Microsoft's track record and you have to wonder why Microsoft would ever even think of touching Bitcoin. Bitcoin is (ostensibly) about privacy, surely this would be antithetical to Microsoft's demonstrated business practices to date? Then again, maybe Microsoft is only just realizing what a farce the concept of Bitcoin really is.

      Seems rather hilarious to me that the very operating system most targeted by ransomware on the planet is financially satisfied with Bitcoin payments to criminals. Perhaps Microsoft saw it as a conflict of interest.

      "Dammit, if anybody is gonna rip off consumers running Windows, it better be us." - Overheard in the last Microsoft sales meeting regarding Bitcoin payments.

    • Bitcoin is (ostensibly) about privacy

      A system of money where every transaction exists on public record is about privacy? I don't think you really got the point of bitcoin.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Why would M$ touch bitcoin, hmm, because they were paid to collect them and sell them to someone else. So who wanted a bunch of bitcoin to 'secretly' spend around the world, likely on a range of nefarious activities and could afford to pay M$ to collect bitcoins for them, hmm, who could afford to waste that money, hmm, what would they need that many bitcoins for? Just speculation but I would be interested to know what M$ spent those bitcoins on ;).

  • do we mean microsoft store as in that icon in windows no one ever visits, or that icon in the mall that no one ever visits?
  • by evolutionary ( 933064 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @10:42AM (#51693853)
    Microsoft has, willingly or unwillingly as been a government "partner" since Windows 7 (perhaps earlier). They collect data on Windows 10 and in all likelihood (they would be forbidden to discuss this) share all data collected with the government. The US Government (like Russia) is against anything that protects anonymity, so it stands to reason that MS would also be against anything that protects anonymity/privacy including Bitcoin. Wonder if MS will get a bounty for reporting Windows 10 users who have installed TOR clients. :D
    • Microsoft has, willingly or unwillingly as been a government "partner" since Windows 7 (perhaps earlier).

      That or the impending catastrophic failure of the Bitcoin experiment... Perhaps they don't want to be caught up when the value collapses or the technical system breaks, both of which seem on the horizon.

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      Quite the opposite in fact.
      By the very nature of Bitcoin, it is impossible to hide a transaction. The only thing you can hide is the person behind a given address. By allowing small payment in BTC to a named account, Microsoft can deanonymize a few transactions.

      No, I think the real reason they stopped using Bitcoin is much more down to earth. By allowing Bitcoin payment, they expected to get a few extra sales, turned out it wasn't worth the hassle, so they killed it. Another possibility is that they weren't

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      "The US Government (like Russia) is against anything that protects anonymity". Tor was developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

      • That was then. But..have you seen the comments from the FBI on people using TOR recently? We developed a lot of things, and then told people not to use them because they never imagined so many people would.
      • Did you know the US government also told computer manufacture to install a "clipper chip" to allow everyone in. Guess what, Matt Blaze managed to crack this chip. :D Government tries all sorts of things they wish they hadn't. And I suspect TOR may be one of them. :D On the other hand, it gives the public a chance to preserve their privacy, especially in a day we collect data without people's permission.
  • OK, can I at least pay with my own 3D printed coins then . . . ?

  • Funny, I have some bitcoins and yet, I don't feel any loss here. Microsoft had a store? Really?

    Other than OEM versions of the OS that many games insist I run, what would I ever give them money for?

  • You will see this happening more and more, as the BitCoin network has dived in performance in recent weeks with transactions taking up to an hour to be written into the block chain - so you can't really run an "instant delivery" platform on that basis, as you have no guarantee of the transaction going through until its actually happened.

    Either customers have to wait until the transaction is written into the block chain to actually get their purchase, or the vendor has to take a risk in giving the product before the transaction is set in stone, allowing for transaction reversal attacks. As most stuff on these type of stores are impulse purchases, or instant gratification purchases, most users will not want to wait out the block chain and will rather go elsewhere.

    Now, yes MS does control a lot of these devices and thus can take the product back again (eg XBox games, Metro apps etc) but this just turns the whole thing into a PR nightmare issue, and doesn't stop users from purchasing music (which are not DRMed) on hacked accounts and reversing the transaction.

    So, all in all, BitCoin currently doesn't work for these type of stores.

    • It's funny how people keep saying transactions are being delayed, I use some faucets that can send withdrawals under five seconds.

      • Good for you, I'm sure everyone else would love to know how they are accomplishing it (other than setting much higher mining rewards for the transaction) because this is a well documented issue.

    • by Kagato ( 116051 )

      THIS!

      Legitimate retailers don't need the hassle. This transaction time issues have been known for some time, but you have competing parties on the solution. So we are at a stalemate. I believe the dispute between developer factions has been going on for over a year. Different factions have interests that are not always about what's best for the general user population.

  • It also could have something to do with the wildly fluctuating value of Bitcoin, you want to charge $4.99 for this app but who knows if that's going to be 0.0121 or 0.0124 or 0.011 bitcoins in the future?
  • Its not that there is no interest. Its more probable that because of all the recent CryptoLocker type attacks that seem to always want payment in bitcoin, as well as TV shows such as CSI: Cyber which have tarnished the image of bitcoin making it seem that it is only used by Malicious Hackers or Blackmailers.

  • The MS folks may be interested in accepting bitcoin, but it's quite possible that their financial folks have no tolerance for the potential for issues - at least not until the current brouhaha is sorted out. After all, declining to accept bitcoin costs might cost them a very few customers but possibly not even that.

    Also, as someone else noted the delays that are now more common in bitcoin payments are a bad match for software or license key downloads - it's almost like purchasing a software download by mail
  • Perhaps our friends at Microsoft got some of their own medicine when Visa/Mastercard said, "That's a lovely discounted merchant fee you have there. Would be a shame if something happened to it." They then "suggested" that accepting payment any other way might be detrimental.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Monday March 14, 2016 @05:36PM (#51696393) Homepage

    The story [softpedia.com] has now been updated to read:

    Microsoft has just confirmed that the update it made to the Windows Store FAQ page was just a mistake and that Windows 10 would continue to support Bitcoin.

Somebody's terminal is dropping bits. I found a pile of them over in the corner.

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