Using Azure AD Accounts to Accumulate Microsoft Rewards with Bing Searches
Message center notification MC249775 published on April 9 says that tenants can soon allow their users to earn Microsoft Rewards points with their Microsoft Services (MSA) accounts. This is Microsoft 365 roadmap item 70634 and the toggle to turn the feature on or off is now available under Org-wide settings in the Microsoft 365 admin center (Figure 1). Rewards will accumulate from May 10, 2021, but not for government users.
Update April 16: Microsoft said: “At this time we will not be moving forward with rolling out the feature as outlined. We are evaluating changes based on feedback and will announce our new plan via Message center when we are ready proceed.”
Edge Profiles Make it Easy to Sign in
The option says that users connect their Azure AD and Microsoft Rewards account. It’s more accurate to say that before a user can accrue Microsoft Rewards, they must:
- Sign up for Microsoft Rewards using a personal Microsoft account.
- Sign into the browser with their Azure AD (work) account.
- Sign into the browser with their Microsoft account. This account is the one linked to Microsoft Rewards. Microsoft 365 then links the user’s Azure AD and personal accounts.
- Configure the browser to use Bing as the search engine (or go to Bing.com to perform searches). Microsoft doesn’t give people rewards when they use Google, Duckduckgo, or another search engine. The aim here is to create more demand for Bing.
I use Edge as my default browser and have work and personal profiles. The work profile uses my Azure AD account; the personal profile uses my MSA account.
Microsoft Rewards is currently available in a limited set of countries (the page says that Microsoft will gradually introduce the program “across the globe”). If your tenant is located outside one of the supported countries, you might not have seen MC249775.
Even More Bing
Optionally, if an organization wishes to make more use of Bing, they can configure Microsoft Search in Bing to include information from Office 365 sources (Teams, Yammer, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business, but not Exchange Online). Figure 2 shows an example of a Bing search in Edge configured to include work results. In this instance, we can see that the search has found some Teams and Yammer conversations. The Microsoft Rewards counter in the top right-hand corner tells me how diligent my collection of rewards has been (not very).
Obvious Attempt to Drive Bing Usage
I guess it’s unsurprising that Microsoft should use every means at their disposal to drive Bing usage. You could say that Microsoft shouldn’t try to take advantage of the captive Office 365 audience. The opposing view is that it’s up to a tenant to decide whether to enable the feature and the toggle is easily accessible in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
A more pragmatic perspective is that in many cases, users make their own minds up about their preferred search engine. Unless the organization insists that they use Bing, they might make another decision. And if they’re happy to use Bing, at least now they can collect some rewards (cynics will say that the rewards are necessary to tolerate the search results produced by Bing, but that’s a discussion for another day).