Microsoft’s latest upgrade roadmap for MS Office, includes four entries for bitcoin support into the four different platform version of their popular Excel spreadsheet software. The changes allow for Bitcoin data to be used in their spreadsheets and calculations, making the task of doing budgeting with bitcoins far easier.
The changes support bitcoin currency formatting on Windows desktop, Windows web, Android, and a universal Microsoft platform. The feature is unique to Microsoft office 2016’s version of Excel, and is expected to be available sometime in the first half of 2017.
The changes invlove a new pair of formatCode attributes for Microsoft’s Schema, or programming tags. These development tools, named x-xbt1 and x-xbt2, will be useful throughout the Microsoft codebase.
With such a base level addition to the company’s underlying programming platform, it will be far simpler for Microsoft developers to include Bitcoin support in all future Microsoft products, including all future versions of its Office suite, and perhaps future Operating Systems.
“Now use Excel to track, calculate and analyze Bitcoin data using native Bitcoin number formatting options.”
Microsoft launched the latest version of Excel as part of the Microsoft Office Suite 2016, in July 2015, to coincide with their launch of Windows 10. Unfortunately, Windows 10 has been criticized in the privacy community for various inherent platform security concerns. While there are far more secure Operating Systems to run a bitcoin wallet on, such as Linux, Microsoft Window 10 will be the first to include support for Bitcoin number formatting, starting with Excel.
In December 2014, Microsoft’s gaming platform, the Xbox, added bitcoin support for gamers Microsoft Account balances, which could then be used to buy licenses and in-game purchases. Microsoft stated that they had removed bitcoin support in March, although the announcement was later described as an error.
While the payment processor helping Microsoft accept bitcoin, Bitpay, won’t disclose figures about Microsoft’s sales specifically, the company stated in January 2015 that they, “saw record months for bitcoin transactions in November and December, with more than 100,000 BitPay invoices processed each month.”
“At these rates, every 25 seconds a shopper somewhere in the world was spending bitcoin at a BitPay merchant.”
Ethereum has had a much closer relationship with Microsoft. In December 2015, the software giant added several Ethereum platform packages for download on Microsoft Azure. Ethereum became on of the cloud platforms staple “Blockchain as a Service” offerings, which they refer to as “ETH BaaS.” Since then, Azure has added many other similar BaaS packages, from blockchain companies including Ripple, Monax, Coinprism, and Factom.
The following March, ConsenSys and Ethereum teamed up to roll out another Microsoft project, a Windows toolkit to help developers build decentralized applications with Ethereum. The service helps developers build, test and deploy decentralized applications, known as ‘dapps,’ and even helps write smart contracts directly into MS Visual Studio.
In September, Microsoft used some of its newfound blockchain prowess to step it’s big toe into the world of high finance. Bank of America and Microsoft Treasury announced that they would build blockchain applications on Azure for the purpose of facilitating trade finance.
Amy Hood, the executive vice president and chief financial officer at Microsoft stated, “By working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on cloud-based blockchain technology, we aim to increase efficiency and reduce risk in our own treasury operations.”
Microsoft then launched the Ethereum Consortium Blockchain Network in November. The open source Azure package lets anyone join their Ethereum-based Consortium for using a universally shared ledger.
“Businesses across the globe — including Microsoft — are undergoing digital transformation to grow, compete and be more agile, and we see significant potential for blockchain to drive this transformation.”
– Amy Hood, executive VP and CFO at Microsoft