Microsoft is launching a new rewards program that, among other things, will pay users to browse the internet with the Microsoft Edge browser. While it's borne out of a need for users on their struggling browser, it might be the easiest rewards program ever created.
Microsoft launched their Edge browser last July with Windows 10. Edge essentially replaced Internet Explorer, the browser you associate most closely with grandparents, 56K modems, and the great war between Metallica and Napster. Edge hasn't thus far proven to be popular, so Microsoft is incentivizing users with the launch of Microsoft Rewards, a revamp of the already existent Bing Rewards.
Windows 10 users can switch Edge and earn points that can be redeemed a bit like how points work on a credit card. The details of how their point system will work is still a little hazy, but once a user accumulates enough points, they can be redeemed for "Xbox and Windows gift cards, Microsoft Store gift cards, sweepstakes entries, charitable donations" and other perks from stores like Starbucks and Amazon.
The rewards program will also dole out points to users who shop at the Microsoft Store or shop through Bing. Just like the Bing Rewards program, participants also earn points for Googling via Bing. Both Bing Rewards members will have their points transferred over to the new program some time in the next two weeks.
The revamped rewards program is currently only available in the United States and has a couple of catches. Users get credit for every hour they're actively using Edge, up to 30 hours a month. "Active use" means that they're tracking mouse movements and clicks to ensure that you're actually using Edge and not just leaving the browser open while you cook. Additionally, the browser must have Bing set as its default search engine.
The move is in part a response to the launch of the minimalist Edge browser being a bit of a flop. Despite being easier on your computer's battery than Google Chrome, Quantcast reports that Chrome accounts for 70 percent of all browser activity originating from computers running Windows 10.
Ultimately, the inclusion of points for using their browser may look a little desperate, but getting paid to use Bing and Edge is a pretty nice perk, especially if you're doing it already.