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Microsoft to bribe UK users to switch from Google to Bing

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The Microsoft Rewards programme, which allows users to collect loyalty points for using Bing and other Microsoft services, is being expanded to the UK.

Users who sign up to the free scheme with their Microsoft account will begin earning reward points for making queries with the search engine, which has failed to compete with rival Google.

Rather than paying customers for their loyalty in cash, Microsoft will offer vouchers in exchange for reward points. These can be redeemed across Microsoft services, such as for Skype credit, Groove music passes and Xbox gift cards. Alternatively, reward points can be turned into donations to UK charities.

50 points can be earned by taking a tour of the Rewards page and each Bing search earns three points, up to a maximum of 30 a day. Other ways to earn points include shopping at the Microsoft, Windows and Xbox stores and taking quizzes. After earning 500 points – which would require a fortnight of using Bing every day – users move up to “Level 2”, where they can earn more points per Bing search.

Currently, 5300 reward points can be exchanged for an Xbox digital gift card worth £5.

The scheme was previously only available in the US, but will expand into France, Germany and Canada over the next few months.

Bing was launched in 2009 and has failed to compete with Google in attracting internet users. According to Net Market Share, Google dominates the global search engine market with 77.98 per cent, while Bing at 7.81 per cent and Baidu at 7.71 per cent trail behind. Users have criticised the search engine for being slower than competitors, allegedly copying Google’s search results and censoring search results for Chinese queries.

Previously, Microsoft has set Bing as default search engine in Microsoft Edge – the Microsoft browser which succeeded Internet Explorer as default Microsoft internet browser in 2015 – and promoted the search engine through Windows 10. In 2012, Microsoft launched the “Bing It On” challenge, asking participants to choose blindly between Bing and Google search results.

The Microsoft Rewards scheme has been designed largely to encourage more internet users to consider Bing as their default search engine over Google.

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