Well, as you see, it works. And (I presume) they would like you think about the fact that throwing the same equation at Google does nothing useful (inexplicably, the first result was a page about BSD).
But I wonder how many users of this feature will be familiar with the rules of operator precedence? I admit I read it as:
--- = ... << I can't format it right but you get the idea
After testing it with Google, I went to Alpha, which (unsurprisingly) handled it with aplomb, giving it to me with proper notation as well and making me aware of my mistake. So I tried it as (x-3) / (x-1) = (x-4) / (x-5), which Alpha also handled with Aplomb (11/3 if you are lazy).
However, inputing the latter into Bing (without or without spaces for padding) gave no calculation or result, but just a bunch of (mostly unrelated) search results. Seems rather counter-productive on MS's part.
Apologies if this is excessively trivial.
(x-3)/x-1=(x-4)/x-5 works OK (ie Bing treats it as math); indeed for (x-3)/x-1=x-4/x-5 Bing properly gives both solutions 1/2(5+/-(29^0.5)).
But it absolutely Does Not Like parentheses in denominator (eg x-3/(x-1)=x-4/x-5) on either side of the equation. Clearly, I need to get out more.
'course, people may just not like the joke.
alpha direct link: http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=(x-3)/(x-1)%3D(x-4)/(x-...
Bing's formatting of the results doesn't quite draw your eye to it - look for "Calculation" immediately below "All Results"
It's yet another real world question that's come up in conversation that I've wanted to know the answer to, and which Wolfram Alpha would be really awesome if it could handle, but sadly cannot.
which Google seems to handle just fine:
Search engines (bing, google, wolfram) get the precedence but are finicky about calculations. Humans (presumable anyway, from the earlier comments) do the calculations but sometimes overlook the precedences. I think it is rather funny.
(x-3)/(x-1) = (x-4)/(x-5)
(x-3)(x-5) = (x-4)(x-1)
x^2 -8x + 15 = x^2 -5x +4
-8x + 11 = -5x
11 = 3x
x = 11/3
FWIW, wolfram alpha agrees with me.
You started with
which is not the same as
x - 3/x - 1 = x - 4/x - 5
, the equation in the submission.