Roughly one year ago, Microsoft (MSFT) added Bitcoin as a supported payment platform to its Windows Store. And today, that support has ended.

Microsoft has not made much of comment on this, only posting this as an FAQ:

"You can no longer redeem Bitcoin into your Microsoft account. Existing balances in your account will still be available for purchases from Microsoft Store, but can't be refunded."

There is little explanation as to why exactly Microsoft has dropped the service, and according to TechCrunch, it could have simply stemmed from a lack of interest and use among customers. 

While the crypto-currency does have some strong supporters out there, Bitcoin -- and other digital currencies -- may be further away from the mainstream than some fans may have hoped. 

Considering the juggernaut size of Microsoft, some may consider the tech company's dropping of Bitcoin as a blow to the currency - even if only in the short-term. 

Shares of Microsoft closed at $53.17 Monday, up a fraction of a percent.


Want better cellular service? Well, we have good news and bad news. The first being that faster service is indeed on its way -- yay! -- but it will take some time, upwards of likely a few years. 

Here's the skinny. The FCC is performing what's known as a reverse auction, in which it will sell additional spectrum to wireless providers (who desperately need spectrum), and then go to the TV broadcasters (who have lots of spectrum) to purchase the spectrum needed. 

So rather than buying then selling, the FCC is selling then buying. As broken down cleanly and efficiently by Re/Code, the government controls the spectrum -- airwaves -- and are looking to redistribute it from those that have a lot, to those who need more. 

Sprint (S) has already said it's out of the bidding process, but others including Verizon (VZ) , AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS)  remain interested. TV broadcasters that want to use its excess spectrum for wireless -- like Comcast (CMCSA)  -- will also have to participate. This is because the spectrum has already been granted for a specific purpose, in this case TV, and would have to be sold back and repurchased for wireless use. 

I know, it seems weird. But as a consumer, all you need to know is that once the whole thing is over with, our service will be faster -- again, yay! 

So when exactly will that be?

The selling portion of the auction should end in late April, while the buying will likely take place in early summer. Sadly, it will take providers some time to get the proper equipment up and running, and then it will take phone manufacturers such as Apple (AAPL) and Samsung (SSNLF) additional time to create compatible devices.

It's a long-term solution. Just be happy they're dealing with it now.  


Apple's been hogging all the headlines when it comes to fighting the government on user privacy concerns. Not for long. According to the New York Times, the government is now trying to figure out how to handle its standoff with Facebook's (FB) WhatsApp. 

The messaging platform, now the largest in the world, has packed encryption into its messaging system, which makes it impossible for the Feds to tap into those conversations even with a judge's order. 

Back to being stuck between a rock and hard place. The judge approves the wiretap, authorities can't crack the encryption and the conversations go on privately as planned. Is WhatsApp and others to blame?

That's at the center of the debate and as other tech giants have showed -- notably Apple -- there is a quite a hesitancy among Silicon Valley players to budge even an inch when it comes to privacy battles with the government. 

It comes as little surprise now that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has publicly supported Apple's stance against the government

Facebook closed at $109.89 Monday, up 0.4%.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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