Understanding the Bloomberg Terminal: The Ultimate Financial Data Solution

Discover what a Bloomberg Terminal is, how it works, and who its main competitors are. Learn about its key features, benefits, and costs.

Understanding the Bloomberg Terminal: The Ultimate Financial Data Solution

A Bloomberg Terminal is an advanced computer system that enables investors to access a spectrum of real-time global financial data, news feeds, and communications. This robust technology also offers a trading system facilitating financial transactions such as stock and options trades.

Key Takeaways

  • Developed by the visionary Michael Bloomberg, the Bloomberg Terminal is an acclaimed hardware and software system for real-time market data, investing analytics, and proprietary trading platforms.
  • Due to their substantial cost, Bloomberg Terminals are predominantly utilized by large institutional investors, portfolio managers, and financial analysts.
  • The system provides independent stock research from over 1,500 resources, along with charting tools and trade analytics for both buy-side and sell-side operators.
  • Bloomberg faces significant competition from Thomson Reuters, which offers the Eikon platform, and emerging companies like Capital IQ and FactSet offering cost-effective alternatives.

How a Bloomberg Terminal Works

Bloomberg Terminals are pivotal products offered by Bloomberg L.P, widely regarded within the financial marketplace for their reliability and depth. Predominantly utilized by institutional investors, the considerable cost makes them less practical for individual investors with modest capital.

The system disseminates news, price quotes, and messaging across its proprietary secure network. Known for its distinctive black interface, the terminal sacrifices some user experience for functionality, a signature that carries over into Bloomberg TV but is nicely balanced by visually rich content in Bloomberg Businessweek.

325,000 Subscribers

The estimated number of Bloomberg terminal users worldwide.

Benefits of a Bloomberg Terminal

Launched in 1982 by Michael Bloomberg, the terminal has evolved from a dedicated hardware system to a versatile software that operates on any Windows-compatible PC, coupled with a custom keyboard and fingerprint scanner. Notably, its compatibility with Excel enhances its utility in the finance sector.

Bloomberg Anywhere allows users access to the platform online and via mobile devices. For portfolio managers and brokers, the ability to access real-time market data anywhere in the world is invaluable.

The terminal’s instant messaging service is popular among traders for sharing quotes, trade updates, and market news. Its comprehensive data sets and up-to-date market information appeal especially to buy-side analysts and bond traders.

Bloomberg Terminal Competitors

The most significant competitor to the Bloomberg Terminal is Thomson Reuters, which launched the Eikon platform in 2010. After selling a 55% stake to Blackstone in 2018 and rebranding to Refinitiv, the platform was further strengthened. Refinitiv was eventually sold to the London Stock Exchange Group.

Despite ongoing competition from companies like Capital IQ and FactSet, Bloomberg maintains a robust market share, with innovative big data, analytics, and machine learning beginning to challenge its dominance.

Trading via Bloomberg Terminal

Yes, the Bloomberg Terminal supports an array of order types and markets, functioning as a complete trading system for instruments such as stocks and options.

Bloomberg Terminal Cost Breakdown

The Bloomberg Terminal is subscription-based, costing around $2,020 per month for two or more licenses, or $27,660 annually for a single subscription. Discounts are available, particularly for academic licenses intended for education and research.

Top Alternatives to the Bloomberg Terminal

Although Bloomberg Terminal is preeminent, several notable alternatives exist, including:

  • FactSet: Widely valued for comprehensive data comparisons.
  • Koyfin: Praised as a free yet robust terminal.
  • Refinitiv Eikon: Ideal for detailed financial data and analytics.
  • Symphony: Preferred for live chat functionalities.
  • YCharts: Best for data visualization needs.
  • AlphaSense: Excels in market research.

Investing in Bloomberg

No, Bloomberg L.P., founded by billionaire and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, is a privately-held company, meaning you can’t invest in its stock.

Related Terms: Thomson Reuters, Refinitiv, Eikon, Capital IQ, FactSet, financial data services, investment platforms.


  1. Bloomberg Professional Services. “The Terminal”.
  2. Wall Street Prep. “Bloomberg vs. Capital IQ vs. FactSet vs. Refinitiv Eikon”.
  3. Fast Company. “How the Bloomberg Terminal Made History–And Stays Ever Relevant”.
  4. Bloomberg Professional Services. “Documentation Support”, Download Software Compatibility Matrix.
  5. Thomson Reuters. “Reuters Launches the Reuters 3000 Xtra Service”.
  6. A-Team Insight. “Eikon Reaches ‘Tipping Point’ as Thomson Reuters Halts New-Client Sales of 3000 Xtra”.
  7. Thomson Reuters. “Thomson Reuters Unveils Next-Generation Desktop”.
  8. Thomson Reuters. “Thomson Reuters and Blackstone Announce Strategic Partnership for Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk (F&R) Business”.
  9. Reuters. “Thomson Reuters to Launch Next Generation Desktop”.
  10. Financial Times. “Bloomberg and Reuters Lose Data Share to Smaller Rivals”.
  11. Thomson Reuters. “Thomson Reuters Financial & Risk Business Announces New Company Name: Refinitiv”.
  12. Thomson Reuters. “Thomson Reuters Announces Closing of Sale of Refinitiv to London Stock Exchange Group”.
  13. Financial Times. “The Bloomberg Terminal Can’t Be Terminated”.
  14. Forbes. “Michael Bloomberg”.

Get ready to put your knowledge to the test with this intriguing quiz!

--- primaryColor: 'rgb(121, 82, 179)' secondaryColor: '#DDDDDD' textColor: black shuffle_questions: true --- ## What is a Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] A device for recording financial news - [x] A computer software system used by financial professionals to monitor and analyze real-time financial market data - [ ] A terminal for public transportation information - [ ] A communication platform for submitting trade orders ## Which of the following is a primary feature of the Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Social networking - [ ] Online shopping - [x] Real-time financial market data and analytics - [ ] Streaming entertainment content ## Who typically uses a Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Professional chefs - [x] Financial professionals such as traders, portfolio managers, and analysts - [ ] Medical doctors - [ ] Graphic designers ## What kind of information can you access through the Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Weather forecasts - [ ] Discount coupons - [ ] Movie reviews - [x] Real-time pricing, historical data, relevant news, and analytics for financial assets ## What is the Bloomberg Terminal commonly known for in the financial industry? - [ ] Low subscription cost - [ ] Entertainment options - [x] Comprehensive market analytics and financial data resources - [ ] Sports updates ## Which feature is unique to Bloomberg Terminal in terms of messaging? - [ ] Instant photo editing - [x] Bloomberg Instant Messaging (IB), which allows users to communicate in real-time within the financial industry - [ ] Video calling - [ ] Music streaming ## How does the Bloomberg Terminal contribute to trading decisions? - [ ] By suggesting entertainment options - [ ] By providing weather updates - [x] By integrating real-time data with trading algorithms and financial analysis tools - [ ] By offering online shopping convenience ## Which of the following is NOT a feature of the Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Access to global financial markets - [ ] Financial news and analytics - [ ] Media reports on companies and economies - [x] Virtual reality games ## How do users typically access a Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Through a dedicated smartphone app - [x] Via Bloomberg's proprietary software installed on desktop computers - [ ] Through social media platforms - [ ] Via public kiosks ## Which of the following is a commonly cited drawback of Bloomberg Terminal? - [ ] Limited market data - [ ] Low functionality - [x] High subscription cost - [ ] Lack of reliable news updates