On the Edge: Microsoft will pay people to use its browser

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser was the butt of jokes for years for so many reasons, from being too slow to be functional to trying its aggressive best to become one’s default browser. To remove the stigma, the software giant decided to build a whole new browser called Edge, which it promised to be superior to IE.

Edge may be far better than IE, but consumers are still wary despite it being a different browser. Edge’s user base is overshadowed by other browsers, most prominently Google’s Chrome. Microsoft is not known to easily give up and throw in the towel. The software giant has announced that Bing Rewards will be renamed Microsoft Rewards, and with the name change comes a new way to earn reward points: browse using Edge. Microsoft has already restricted Cortana to use only Bing Search, which also results in earned points. Now, by rewarding users of Edge, Microsoft hopes to lead more Windows users to try the native browser.

Reward points can be used to get freebies or discounts on items you want to purchase at Microsoft’s physical or online stores.

How Microsoft Rewards works

First off, users need to have Windows 10’s diagnostic and telemetry technology enabled so it can track whether you are really using Edge. Simply opening the Edge browser will not automatically earn you points. Microsoft stated you need to actively use Edge — meaning the Edge icon is highlighted on the taskbar — and one should actively engage with the browser with activities such as “mouse movements, clicks, touch gestures, [and] keyboard presses” or watching a full-screen movie.

Microsoft EdgeUsers will be rewarded for every hour they use Edge, with a limit of 30 hours per month. Microsoft has yet to reveal how many points an hour of Edge browsing will garner users.

Other changes will include Bing Rewards being replaced by Microsoft Points, with existing Bing Rewards credits automatically swapped for 10 Microsoft Points. The tier system will still exist, but Microsoft states that discounts achieved by reaching certain points will now only apply exclusively to Microsoft products.

Is this a little too desperate for Microsoft? Maybe. But when the market share for your product is less than 5 percent, while your top competitor holds roughly 51 percent of the market, you’d probably do whatever it takes to get more users.

Photo credits: Microsoft

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