Microsoft Introduces a Windows 10 Mobile Wallet With NFC Capability
Microsoft Corp. has ventured into mobile-payment territory on Tuesday by announcing it is making near-field communication capability available on Microsoft Wallet for in-store transactions. This program is compatible with Microsoft’s Windows 10 Operating System.
For now, this new form of payment is restricted to the members of Microsoft’s Windows Insiders Program in order to obtain feedback from the most premium customers, and also with the help of fellow partners MasterCard and Visa. These exclusive members help to refine some things that need to be re-worked on the product before they become available to the general public. The general release of the wallet will come “later this summer”, according to a Microsoft spokesperson.
This type of technology will work at any U.S location that happens to have NFC terminals, which could be “more than a million places” according to Microsoft.
Right now, the program is being backed up by a handful of renowned banks, such as Bank of America Corp., BECU (Boeing Corp.’s credit union), JPMorgan Chase & Co., Fifth Third Bank, First Tech Federal Credit Union, People’s United Bank, U.S. Bank, and Virginia Credit Union, according to Microsoft.
This service is currently available on the Lumia 950, 950 XL, and 650 smartphones. Perhaps they constitute a small percentage of the smartphone market, but the advantage Windows 10 has is that it has been available for nearly a year across a wide range of other Microsoft devices. Microsoft Wallet itself will be no strange subject to consumers as it has been available since its introduction in November 2012.
Microsoft, however, should be worried about a much more menacing obstacle: the head start rival device makers, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. The great performances of these two giants might prove to be difficult for Microsoft, as they both have monopolized the entire market. Apple Pay entered the market in the fall of 2014, while Samsung Pay launched nearly a year later. Both Apple Pay and Alphabet’s Inc.’s Android Pay rely on NFC technology, while Samsung Pay has two alternatives: the NFC or the ordinary connection via mag-stripe terminals channeled through a technology called magnetic secure transmission, which mimics a mag-stripe swipe.
This complete appropriation of the market by Samsung and Apple can be seen in the statistics shown by Reston, Va.-based Internet metrics firm comScore Inc., in which Microsoft had a 2.4% share of the U.S smartphone platform market in April, down 0.3 percentage points from 2.7% in January. Market leader Android widened its lead to 53.5% in April compared with 52.8% in January. Next was Apple’s iOS platform, with a 43.3% share, down slightly from 43.6% three months earlier.
What is still a matter of debate is the exact market share that Windows 10 has. Computerworld exposed some federal government data that peg it at 8.8%. However, this includes both desktop and mobile platforms. But this might not be true, as another metrics firm, NetMarketShare, estimates Windows 10‘s share at 11.5%.
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