It’s sort of like buyer’s remorse but here it goes. About 4 months ago I wrote “Microsoft Points Should Be Brought Out Back And Shot” . Why?

There are two big problems here. One is that it’s not a 1:1 conversion and any barrier at all is bad. You may not think it’s a big deal to do simple math in your head but it’s really a silly ratio and there’s no justifiable reason for this. The second is the massive inconsistency in use. Truthfully, I could live with MS Points. I get it. People don’t all have credit cards. Been there. But let the user choose on ALL Microsoft products how they want to purchase content and ALWAYS give both options. There’s no excuse for making people live in both worlds against their will.

So what’s the new news? Well apparently Microsoft is killing off Microsoft Points entirely.

By the end of 2012, all transactions will be based on the region set on the purchasing account and real money will be used to purchase all Windows Phone content. The move puts the Windows Phone Marketplace in line with the purchasing practices used in the App Store and the Android Market.

The problem with the current system is that some things use cash and some use points and it’s a mess. Buy an app and it’s based on cash then downloadable content is in points. It makes no sense. So Microsoft is rumored to be going to cash only. And yeah, that’s not a good move. I haven’t actually change my thoughts here “let the user choose on ALL Microsoft products how they want to purchase content and ALWAYS give both options.” See Points still do make sense. What doesn’t make sense is forcing people into one or the other system or mixing them. But making it so you can buy in points or in cash is ideal. And if you take it one step further and make it so it’s a 1:1 ratio (so 1 MS Point = $1) then we’d really be on to something sustainable.

Microsoft, if you are listening, think about what you’re doing here. Lot of people don’t have credit cards for various reasons. I remember not having a credit card until I was 21. That’s just how things happened and I know there are plenty of people that live in a cash based (not plastic based) world and Microsoft has to realize that. MS Points and cash transactions can live side by side and this should happen across all MS assets from Zune to Phone to Win8. Now make it happen and don’t go on a crazy Point killing rampage uhm k?


  1. MS Points didn’t make sense because you only considered one market/currency (yours).

    MS Points allowed Microsoft to advertise one price (in points) globally, rather than advertise different prices for each market, the later of which occurs in the WP Market Place and iTunes App Store (e.g. $0.99US = $1.29AU).

    The only condition is, where points and $ for a product are advertised side by, that the are equivalent for the given market.

    The fact that MS points didn’t translate 1p:$1, also allowed for finer pricing. Consider that 1500 points = $25.00 AU. 400 points is easier to advertise than $6.66666666666AU.

    MS Points also allowed user who can’t/don’t have a credit card, and also served as good gifts. It also reduce the number of financial (credit card) transactions made by Microsoft, potentially reducing operating costs.

    Personally, the points thing was kinda confusing, but from that confusion sprouted WP apps such as MS Points Australia which reduced the thinking involved.

  2. I use a prepaid debit card for mobile transactions like buying apps and downloadable content like music. There are a ton of people who deal in cash but keep a prepaid car for various reasons.

  3. Daniel – well done for pointing out that not all of us use $!

    Presumably Microsoft’s plan is that people can use operator billing if they don’t have a credit card. I don’t know how widespread support for this is yet, but it certainly surprised me last week when it popped up as an option for my last marketplace purchase.

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