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Microsoft Introduces Pay-as-You-Go Computing

Hemos posted more than 8 years ago | from the crash-as-you-go dept.

328

An anonymous reader writes "Geekzone is reporting that Microsoft is introducing a new business model for 'pay-as-you-go computing.' From the article: 'The pay-as-you-go computing model enabled by Microsoft's FlexGo technology allows customers to have a fully featured PC at home by paying only for the time as they use it through the purchase of prepaid activation cards or tokens. Microsoft has been running trials of the program in Brazil for more than a year and will soon be expanding to select markets in India, Russia, China and Mexico.'" This makes me giggle, because it's basically the return of time-sharing; in the past it was for for mainframe systems, but I suppose the same concept behind the mainframe idea would be true in developing countries today with PC systems.

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First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379217)

Looks like a novel new way to pay the Microsoft tax

Re:First Post (1)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379267)

I have to disagree. This system could have its its advantages if Microsoft assumes all of the ecological issues [ban.org] . Just weight the costs, how much do you pay per year for an identically featured machine ? How much would you pay to get this one, guaranted by Microsoft to work expectedly and -if possible- to be kept from obsolescence?
A PC used to mean Personal Computer, now it's just a Packet of Crap and modding is just making it more expensive as well as unstable.
The Swiss have a related system for sharing cars [mobility.org] . It just requires more organisation but otherwise you don't wonder about parking, cleaning, refueling, etc. anymore.
Face it: This might be a pun by Microsoft, but at least it could sound cleaner for the environment.
But maybe were you just improvising a First Post?

Re:First Post (2, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379284)

guaranted by Microsoft to work expectedly

They can't do that now, how do you expect them to do that in the future?

Besides, if you look at how it works, you'll see that it really is the shits ... you get a 12-character code every time you want to "add minutes." How much you want to bet there'll be a keygen and spoofed add-time servers if this catches on?

... and the big hack - boot from a linux DVD and bypass it all.

Re:First Post (-1, Flamebait)

Man-Afraid-of-His-Ho (976375) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379346)

guaranted by Microsoft to work expectedly
They can't do that now, how do you expect them to do that in the future?
That entirely depends on what you expect of Microsoft.
I've come to expect that Windows will forget that my computer has a keyboard and they manage to deliver that at least a few times a week.

Work expectedly isn't always the same as work as it should.

Cool (0, Flamebait)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379218)

Not only they will pirate windows, but they will pirate the HW too.

Re:Cool (1)

ramonklown (970428) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379348)

I don't know about that, but I think that the other Brazilian program "PC for all" is a better proposal: Linux PC, that is just cheaper. So the Microsoft's "counter-strike" is this pay-as-you-go thingy that probaly blocks the MBR and puts a password on the BIOS so you cannot change the OS, but they are smart because they make you pay all the costs they had up front then you just do the pre-paid thingy for their profit part of the story. I'ven't seen anyone with this PC yet, but when I do I will be one of the first or last to want to rewrite that MBR, or maybe upgrade the BIOS and then install linux just for the heck of it. Regards, Ramon

On-demand computing (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379219)

Not exactly time-sharing, but "on-demand" computing. Unisys [unisys.com] and IBM are doing this now - it's actually a new concept for them as well...

Re:On-demand computing (1)

Daniel Ellard (799842) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379318)

Not exactly time-sharing, but "on-demand" computing. Unisys and IBM are doing this now - it's actually a new concept for them as well...

... and while you're at it, don't forget Sun's grid [sun.com] ...

Re:On-demand computing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379334)

Yes and no. Yes, in that this is a new idea in the pc world, no in that IBM mainframes had cpu usage meters which the CE read every month. The company was then billed for how many hours the cpu had been used. Other vendors may have done that as well.

Why? (4, Insightful)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379226)

Why does it seem Microsoft is running out of good ideas? Pay as you go computing? How long would it be before you actually pay the amount that a new PC/Windows would cost for this? Is Microsoft going to be the next Rent-a-Center, where you pay $5000 for a PC that costs $500? Or pay $1000 for windows when it is in reality $200? heh, bad idea I say.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379243)

Considering that they want 1/3 up front, and that the software is now the greatest part of the expense of owning a box, it would be cheaper to take that 1/3 and buy a lower-spec white box and throw linux or bsd on it, and pocket the difference.

After all, if they can't afford the box, they won't be able to afford the games and shite that require Windows either ...

With the mney they save, they can buy a Wii for their gaming fix.

Re:Why? (2, Insightful)

BecomingLumberg (949374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379538)

it would be cheaper to take that 1/3 and buy a lower-spec white box and throw linux or bsd on it

Easy for us, tough for Joe Six-pack, who just wants to read his email.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379565)

How do you price something with zero or near zero marginal cost of production, like a copy of Windows, a music CD, or maybe even a CPU?

To max your profits (and/or shut out the competition) you would like to sell it for $100 in the US, and $10 in Bangladesh. But what is to stop those Bangladesh-bound goods being trans-shipped to US markets?

One solution is to cripple the $10 version in some way that will make it unattractive to the US market. Seems to me this is what Microsoft has in mind.

Re:Why? (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379262)

How long would it be before you actually pay the amount that a new PC/Windows would cost for this? I ... heh, bad idea I say. ... he said, in the hope of being modded up, as he prepared to go pay his room rent.

Re:Why? (1)

Tango42 (662363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379340)

It would take years to pay as much in rent as you would to buy the house. It's not comparable at all.

Re:Why? (1)

Tx (96709) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379342)

Why does it seem Microsoft is running out of good ideas?

Wait...I've missed something here. You seem to be implying that Microsoft were previously overflowing with good ideas - what were those again? ;)

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379376)

read their marketing, and legal campains. Other then that, im drawing a blank.

Re:Why? (1)

Dusthead Jr. (937949) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379377)

"Running out of good ideas?" They never have a good idea.

Re:Why? (2, Funny)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379416)

I hope Microsoft really goes for this bigtime. Hopefully it will become pay-as-they-go as everyone goes for a Mac or Linux.

Re:Why? (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379500)

If it makes MS cash, how is it a bad idea?

Re:Why? (4, Funny)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379574)

where you pay $5000 for a PC that costs $500

*cough* Apple *cough*. :-)

Oh you meant over time in installments... hehehe.

Innovative strategy (4, Interesting)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379228)

It seems they've spotted a good niche. From MS website:

In many countries around the world, people face two main barriers to owning a PC: the entry cost of buying a computer is too high and the fixed monthly payments associated with traditional financing are beyond their ability to pay- if they can get financing at all. And even in countries where consumer credit is available, many people are reluctant to incur the obligation of fixed monthly payments because they have unpredictable or variable incomes.

All fair points.. it will be interesting others in the industry take up the idea.

Re:Innovative strategy (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379408)

The rumors are that Google has been interested in this for a while, which is why Microsoft has been rolling this out. Other companies do Remote Desktop Hosting [inqub.net] , and this isn't that much of an a stretch from that.

Re:Innovative strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379562)

The rumors are that Google

The rumors are that Google does every fucking thing. There is nothing about whih there is no rumor what Google allgedly does oh-so-non-evil.

Giggle giggle (3, Insightful)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379229)

This makes me giggle, because it's basically the return of time-sharing; in the past it was for for mainframe systems

When you stop giggling you may as well notice both have nothing in common.

One is a payment model for using licensed software (but time is not limited by demand, just by your money), and the other is an early form of multitasking, allowing more efficient use of the mainframe resources.

Re:Giggle giggle (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379253)

They have nothing in comment, except for in the first model you pay for the amount of time you are using the computer, and in the second model you... pay for the amount of time you are using the computer?

Re:Giggle giggle (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379313)

... except that under this scheme, you're also paying for the time you use the computer to:
  1. download patches
  2. uninstall/reinstall patches
  3. update antivirus signatures
  4. resinstall software that a patch cripples (oh, right - they can't afford any software except whatever came pre-loaded)
  5. do your backups "just in case"

Under the old mainframe concept, YOUR meter isn't ticking if they're updating their machine.

Re:Giggle giggle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379440)

When God hates all the same people you do, its a sign you've created Him in your own image.

Unless you're a misanthrope.

Re:Giggle giggle (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379512)

I was just voiding the 'nothing in common' statement. Besides, where do you read the software maintenance time (updates etc) is included in the calculation? Is "Installing", "Updating", ... equal to "Using" the software?

Re:Giggle giggle (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379572)

esides, where do you read the software maintenance time (updates etc) is included in the calculation? Is "Installing", "Updating", ... equal to "Using" the software?

I didn't just read the article - I followed the links as to how it works. As long as the machine is on, you're running the meter, even if all you're doing is running a screensaver.

Takes "bit rot" to a whole new dimension.

Re:Giggle giggle (5, Insightful)

realnowhereman (263389) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379274)

It sounds like you aren't aware that time on mainframes was often leased in the past? Making the comparison reasonably valid.

Re:Giggle giggle (5, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379331)

Hello young un.

When I first started work, I had to log the time that I logged into my terminal and logged out again into a black book. This was so we could double check against the seemingly extortionate amount of money the time sharing bureau charged us for the time spent on the computer that was on the other end of the line from my terminal. This was around 1983, which will have been towards the end of a practice that had been going on since the 1960s.

Oh, and your comment about this latest scheme being about licensing software is wrong too. They're hiring the hardware as well as the software. Just as they were in the old time sharing days.

This is just sub-prime financing (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379230)

It's the same tactic used to lease-to-own cars to people who can't really afford them

FTFA:

  1. An individual purchases a PC by making an initial payment equivalent to one-third of the total cost. A third party financial institution pays the retailer the remaining cost of the PC on the buyer's behalf.
  2. The buyer agrees to purchase 800 hours of time on their PC at a low hourly rate - they can add time as frequently or as infrequently as they choose and take as long as they need to purchase the hours. The cost of the 800 hours covers the re-payment to the financial institution (including interest).
  3. Hours of PC usage can be conveniently purchased over time through a variety of distribution channels, including convenience stores (scratch cards), ATMs, Point of Sale networks and the internet.
  4. Once 800 hours of usage time is purchased, no additional payments are required to use the PC.

In other words, if you don't qualify for the loan as per item 1, you don't get to "long-ter lease" the box. So why not just borrow it outright and not be stuck paying per hour? Or take that 1/3 cash down and buy a used PC.

Re:This is just sub-prime financing (1)

Donut2099 (153459) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379250)

Sounds like a lot of hassle just to play solitaire. Do they get any software to go with their pre-paid computer time?

Re:This is just sub-prime financing (4, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379298)

FTFA: "Genuine Microsoft"

So you're going to have to pay for the time you use to download and install all those patches, updating antiviruses, as well as the time your box is being p0wned and sending out spam, etc.

Of course, if you can't afford to own your box, you can't afford a fast connection, so you're going to spend more overall just maintaining your box.

For the 1/3 they want up front, buy a plain beige box outright and run a free os. After all, its not like these people are going to be able to afford to blow big bux on games or other software that runs only on windows.

Obligatory joke (-1, Flamebait)

RasendeRutje (829555) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379241)

Sorry, I'll have to make it:
"allows customers to have a fully featured PC at home"
So Microsoft is going to use Ubuntu for this?

Re:Obligatory joke (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379292)

I dont understand why this comment was moderated off-topic; It's a perfectly valid observation, albeit done jokingly. It's an indication that PC's are cheap, but Microsoft software so expensive that a new (old?) licencing system is required to get access to it - unless you opt for a potentially better suit of software, at no cost at all.

I'm old enough to remember working in the time-sharing model; yes I know time-sharing is a multitasking principle, but in the old days it was used to charge users *per cycle*. I shudder at the memory, and will certainly avoid any use of such a licencing scheme.

This will just make Linux more attractive. Thanks Microsoft!

Re:Obligatory joke (2, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379349)

Actually, if you follow the links in the article to read how it works, its obvious that booting from a linux DVD bypasses their time subscription/metering servers and all the software components they had to ad to Windows to lock out the user.

Actualy, booting from one of the hacked bootable Windows DVDs (yes, its possible to run Windows from a DVD - you can make your own bootable one by going here :http://www.nu2.nu/pebuilder/ [nu2.nu] ) also bypasses their time metering system.

Time sharing beauracracy lasted too long (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379481)

but in the old days it was used to charge users *per cycle*
A guy in my fortran programming class on a slow terminal link to a MicroVax blew his budget in the first ten minutes of the class accidently writing and running an endless loop - the rest of the year he had to do everything on paper and wasn't allowed to touch a terminal or the teletype terminal we used for printouts. Lowly engineering undergrads were not allowed near PCs, macs or workstations. To make everything even more stupid - this was in 1989 in a Univerisity Department that was doing hypersonic flight and satellite research for NASA.

Cue activation crack in... (1, Funny)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379242)

Oh, right...

The Palladium Killer App (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379252)

I can't for the life of me imagine how they are going to enforce this except with Trusted Computing. The only way that they are going to prevent someone

  * Imaging the drive
  * Installing another OS of their choice
  * Using the computer as much as they like
  * When the agreement ends, replace the drive image.

Ok, if you sick a lawyer on the poor user, you can sting them for their minimum 800 hours fees. But the only way they could prevent the above is by locking the machine down at the BIOS level with TCPM support.

Re:The Palladium Killer App (1)

Drakona4 (916255) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379288)

Agreed.

This has to be a program that get's consumers used to the 'trusted' platform. Mostly because of the parent-listed reasons: it'd be too easy to wipe the machine and use it 'in an unapproved fashion.'

It's also a training-wheel step to training consumers to the 'subscription' model of computing: pay us monthly 'rent', or your OS stops working...and since it's a 'trusted' platform...

No good.

Re:The Palladium Killer App (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379327)

Incidentally, that's what they intend to do! Notice how they're pushing hard for "Trusted Computing"?

Re:The Palladium Killer App (3, Insightful)

indaba (32226) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379330)

I can't for the life of me imagine how they are going to enforce this

obviously you have either never signed a contact before in your life, or you don't have much of an imagination.

Re:The Palladium Killer App (1)

hcob$ (766699) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379380)

I can't for the life of me imagine how they are going to enforce this except with Trusted Computing. The only way that they are going to prevent someone

* Imaging the drive
* Installing another OS of their choice
* Using the computer as much as they like
* When the agreement ends, replace the drive image.

Ok, if you sick a lawyer on the poor user, you can sting them for their minimum 800 hours fees. But the only way they could prevent the above is by locking the machine down at the BIOS level with TCPM support.
Precisely... now, if it already hasn't happend, I'll make a prediction:

You'll see a major contract between Infineon and Micrsoft within 6 months.

Re:The Palladium Killer App (1)

irtza (893217) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379463)

Things really do make a lot more sense. Everyone new they were going to start renting Windows, but I guess this is a much better way to do it. Throw in some crazy new hardware and start renting both in a combined package. People (yes I said people - not slashdoters) will never know what they are paying for. They can throw in hardware updaes every X years along w/ updated software - all in a trusted environment.

Sure there won't be as many third party software, but only evil hacker types delve into that world. You know, the same kind that would delve into illegal drugs. Non trusted environments will be rquivivalized w/ the wild west along with all the associated dangers.

Ingenious (3, Funny)

ptelligence (685287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379256)

Pay-as-You-Go rates force you to shutdown/reboot long before the computer crashes on its own.

Re:Ingenious (1)

Narc (126887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379373)

Yeah, sure... you try making windows run for 800 hours without crashing. Good luck with that.

Re:Ingenious (2, Funny)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379491)

Cool. Two Microsoft-bashes, one rebuking the other.

my first thought was "yay linux and apple" (1)

bobamu (943639) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379258)

but on reading article.. it's more of the "good little consumer, you don't own anything, you just amuse yourself with what we let you have for a time" IP uber alles mentality.

And what the hell is "AMD intends to develop processors designed specifically to support Microsoft FlexGo technology." supposed to mean? Credit Availabilty Execute Protection that checks you are rich enough to continue enjoying your "rich media experience"?

No doubt this scheme will seem immediately cheaper than purchasing hardware and installing from a cdr with the latest ubuntu or whatever and of course it'll be all about "empowering global citizens by shrinking the digital divide!!" yay!!!

Goes to check the temperature of the frog.

Something I don't Understand (2, Insightful)

ICLKennyG (899257) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379260)

Definatly just shaddy financing with a new lable. Purchase only the time you need only works for a centrally located service. Cell phones work that way because you buy the phone (more or less) and then you are purchasing the network which you phyically don't own. Same with mainframe time. You likely didn't own the mainframe when you were purchasing time on it. The only way a personal computer would be practicle (at least to me) is if it was personal. Same settings, profile, files, etc. And it would likely have to be in my residence. So you can't really have anyone else using it. This doesn't really add up as a concept. Unless microsoft is getting into the Net Cafe business.

Re:Something I don't Understand (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379335)

Cell phones work that way because you buy the phone (more or less) and then you are purchasing the network which you phyically don't own

Cell phones use DRM to lock you into a network while you are on contract.

Won't work (4, Insightful)

stm2 (141831) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379265)

From the Microsoft page: "makes it easier for people with modest incomes in emerging markets to buy a full-featured PC for their families"

The true is that "people with modest incomes in emerging markets" don't buy software. Even when buying a new computer, big retails shops bundle Linux, that is removed as soon as people see they can't play games or use Encarta or Word or any other well known software. On the newspapers in Argentina, you see there is a standard fee for "linux removing" (and Windows installing, not advertised). In small computers shops, they preinstall WindowsXP without even asking (without licence). Most software is available for u$2 on CD-R (is advertised on any newspaper and even phone booth).
Only big companies (mostly from overseas) can afford to buy software.

All of a sudden... (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379268)

... As soon as they read this, thousands of CIOs, PHBs, and Microsoftie system administrators realize Linux IS ready for the desktop, and introduce large-scale plans to switch all their users to ______________ [insert favourite distribution here], stat.

Panic seizes Wall Street, Microsoft stock dives, NASDAQ tanks, Bill Gates become the 100th richest man in the world, and Congress introduces law designed to protect "American innovation and competitiveness against the evil, communist, terrorist-sponsored opensource software".

Hey, one can dream, right? :-)

a fully featured PC .... (5, Interesting)

eggoeater (704775) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379270)

You mean a PC that includes:

An office suite. [openoffice.org]

A standards compliant browswer [mozilla.com]

Maybe a simple image editor [sourceforge.net]

And maybe [7-zip.org] a couple [sourceforge.net] of small [utorrent.com] utility programs. [sourceforge.net]

Yeah, I guess that would be worth paying for....
I mean, it's not like people are giving it away for free.

Rewrite for simplicity (2, Informative)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379317)

You mean a PC that includes:

An office suite, a standards compliant browswer, maybe a simple image editor, and maybe a couple of small utility programs. [kde.org]

Yeah, I guess that would be worth paying for....
I mean, it's not like people are giving it away for free.

Re:Rewrite for simplicity (2, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379424)

But has KDE been ported to Windows, other than through the heavyweight Cygwin layer? Or have display technologies associated with *BSD and GNU/Linux been ported to any non-onboard 3D video cards?

Re:a fully featured PC .... (1)

Yo Grark (465041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379394)

And where is a simple gui driven avi editor? Mpg conversation app?

Oh that's right, when I switch to Linux and was running great until I hit THAT brick wall, the linux community told me, just use line editors.

Right, I'll just packup my ability to easily and graphically edit all my home movies because linux says so. I don't think so.

So now that I got your attention, help me switch BACK to linux by showing me a decent graphical video editor. (Please and thank you)

Yo Grark

glass slipper? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379452)

help me switch BACK to linux by showing me a decent graphical video editor.

What problems block your use of Cinelerra [cinelerra.org] ?

Re:a fully featured PC .... (3, Informative)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379537)

This is not a Google search [google.com] outsourcing facility. Now to contradict myself by providing you with some positive reinforcement for your rudeness.

Re:a fully featured PC .... (1)

mlk (18543) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379432)

> Maybe a simple image editor [sourceforge.net]

Gimp Simple? Lay of the shrooms man!

Controlling the right to use our computers (2, Interesting)

Seriously, who (969215) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379272)

Seriously, who is going to buy a computer and then pay for the right to use it?

MS Announces Desktop Treo/Blackberry (1)

gurutc (613652) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379275)

Only my opinion, but as the handheld communicators, which are pay-as-you-go or monthly-fee based gain marketshare and computing power, maybe Microsoft is quietly preparing for battle in what may become the 'standard pc' for most users.

Filthy (4, Insightful)

linvir (970218) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379281)

This makes me sick to my stomach. The real geniuses of Microsoft, the ones working in the money dept, have come up with a way to drip feed the poor with an operating system they couldn't afford before (instead of choosing one they can afford), reinforce the idea that you're only renting access to software, and come up with a way to get more data on peoples' computer usage, all in one fell swoop.

And cue the anti-Slashdot trolls bitching about how we see everything MS does as evil...

Re:Filthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379296)

"I find your ideas interesting and would like to subscribe to your newsletter". - HJS =)

Re:Filthy (1)

krunchyfrog (786414) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379464)

If I remember well, Microsoft will stop Win98/Win98SE official support in June, right? Does that mean Win98SE will be abandonware, as in "I only want an operating system to use my computer", and I might not have to pay for it? That could be a good alternative to Vista's minimum requirements.

Just wondering (2, Insightful)

Rorian (88503) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379297)

Isn't it getting to the point now where us lucky ones in the first world are throwing away enough old-but-still-working hardware that people in the third world CAN have a PC that works just fine with the right setup and just isn't the latest and greatest quad-core offering from Intel?

I guess it makes a lot of sense from Microsofts point of view.. instead of letting them have cheap home PCs and "free" Windows software (aka piracy), make them pay outlanding sums of money over the long-term without realizing it, while offering the usual sub-standard software and being able to fall back on "ooh, it must be network problems, cause our centralized Office products are perfect!" excuses as required.

Whatever happened to all these $100 PCs bundled with Linux? They can't be much more expensive than a thin-client PC + broadband connection required to deliver the new Microsoft centralised services at any decent speed?

I hope M$ has thought this one through - if they start actually forcing those who cannot afford it to pay for M$ products, those who cannot afford it will quickly migrate to something they can afford, eg. Linux. Perhaps once the end-user moves, corporations will feel more secure about moving and before you know it, M$ isn't turning a profit in either of their two truly profitable offerings any more (Windows and Office)

Re:Just wondering (1)

MooUK (905450) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379392)

I'm currently doing some volunteering work based out of a PC recycling organisation (but separate from it) in the UK. They have HUGE piles of older, completely functional hardware there. So much so that they've had to get a new warehouse area to store some of it. A girl who works there has been putting together her own machine from some of the parts. It's about equal to this box I have here, which is more than enough for all but the most demanding modern games - it should even run Aero without too much trouble. And she's not even using the best hardware available there.

My work involves giving them away.

Re:Just wondering (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379397)

Its funny you shuld say that, because last night I spent an hour playing around with the old Thinkpad 380D (150 mhz Pentium, 32 meg ram, 2 gig hd) that I had picked up for $50 because I needed something that would run dbase5 for a bit; I threw some old games on it, and CorelOffice 9, and it works fine ...

I wonder if I can swap out the old hd for a new 80 gig ...

LOL Dudes....Me am Brazil... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379299)

and it suck!!!!

And of course, youll want a broadband connection.. (3, Insightful)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379300)

...which will be another $30/month

Nickle and diming the way to more profits! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379326)

...which will be another $30/month

You bring up a point. This model of payment will be an avenue for MS o nickel and dime the consumer with junk fees, like the airline, banking and telco industry, and they'll end up with greater revenues than ever.

Just look at the banking industry. They're biggest profit growth is from all of those ATM, account fees, etc... all bogus. Especially ATM fees! $2.00 ATM fee!?! Shit, mine are free at my Credit Union - even when I use someone else's ATM!

Re:And of course, youll want a broadband connectio (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379549)

The renewable fee for net access is partially justified (maybe not the $30 figure but the fact there IS a figure...).

It takes power, space, staff and equipment to run an ISP. It isn't like all the customers could just pay $29.95 once and have net for life.

On the other hand, a Windows install takes none of Microsofts time and shouldn't be forced into a renewable fee schedule.

Tom

You'll realize the difference to a _functional_ PC (1)

D4C5CE (578304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379301)

...as soon as you have to pay the Bill (no pun intended):

This kind of "personal" computer only

allows customers to have a fully featured PC at home
- and one really has to wonder what happens to the data -and hardware- when poor people in hand-to-mouth economies can't afford unlocking their "own" PCs of this kind anymore.

Seems to have all the hallmarks and ugly side-effects the former "self-destruct DVDs", and worse...

This is Microsoft's answer to the $100 computer (2, Insightful)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379304)

If the $100 computer with open source software is the liberation theology of the information revolution, this is the indentured servitude of the information revolution.

So now you know... (5, Insightful)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379312)

...why Microsoft is so dismissive of the $100 PC.

Re:So now you know... (4, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379351)

Two projects: The Microsoft rent-a-computer project, and the $100 laptop project.

One of these projects is attempting to empower the 3rd world, and the other project is attempting to enslave the 3rd world.

Can you guess which is which?

Re:So now you know... (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379386)

heck yeah, microsoft wants more than a C-note from each customer...

Poster (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15379314)

This makes me giggle...

Giggle? What are you, a 13 year old girl?

1 small step for microsoft. 1 giant leap backwards (1)

Silmeria (972282) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379360)

so they're going to charge the customer $ for the time they're using the pc. this is just one step away from the subscription model they've mentioned before in the past for msoffice. If this is anywhere near successful expect ms to rivive their interest in that subscription model. on demand dling of msoffice + payment for limited time use? no thanks. Now we know why microsoft were so unfavorable with the $100 TCO laptop.

Microsoft "Introduces" Pay-As-You-Go Computing? (0)

Zemplar (764598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379361)

I'd say Microsoft damn near invented the concept of pay-as-you-go computing since anyone running one of their systems has constantly been paying for it...is so many ways.

*cough* Get a Mac... *cough* (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379368)

This is why everyone should get a Mac. :P

Re:*cough* Get a Mac... *cough* (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379468)

Or a PC and install any BSD or Linux distro variant.

Yes, that's what the poor in third world nations require, overpriced "premium" computers that run a commercial OS where upgrades cost money.

Well played poster, you are a tool.

Tom

Re:*cough* Get a Mac... *cough* (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379476)

Up-front cost of subsidized PC: $150 incl. display. Up-front cost of iMac: $1,000. Which will a third worlder buy?

Re:*cough* Get a Mac... *cough* (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379517)

>This is why everyone should get a Mac
The cheapest Mac costs 3-4 times more than a cheap PC capable of internet browsing, Office and games that don't demand the latest hardware (Half-life 2 etc.)

The Next Big Thing (1)

berenixium (920883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379390)

Latest from Redmond's computer labs:

Licensed Pay-As-You-Go-Breathing.

$10 per 100 inhales.
Exhaling is charged as an optional extra.

Just like the "Jump to Conclusions Mat" (2, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379398)

This is a really terrible idea. I have one that even better than a pet rock: each year tens of thousands of computers are junked out and replaced by new ones. Know where they end up? At a trash heap. Why not salvage the parts, create a bunch of decent machines out of them, throw on a free OS, sell em for next to nothing to those who can't afford a few hundred bucks for a PC. Sure as hell beats this pay out your butt method. What good is a computer if you can't sit around and play with it for hours on end without worrying about how much it'll cost you?

Ms should do this with Starter Edition. (1)

Deathlizard (115856) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379407)

The problem isn't the PC cost per se. At this point, you can Build a PC for less than $200. it's the software that's the big cost.

What they should be doing is something along the lines of the Xbox 360 micro-payments model. Basically, give away starter edition for free, and then sell prepaid cards if you want to upgrade it to home edition.

They can also have a system built into it where you can also buy software A la cart using the prepaid cards either over time or all at once. You can make it so you basically, pick out the program you want, and then use the cards to buy it or pay for it over time using the cards. Then as soon as the program is paid off, you can choose something new to purchase, add cards to the service when you can to spend at a later date, or stop purchasing cards and wait until something new comes out.

Re:Ms should do this with Starter Edition. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379447)

You can build a box for less than 200? Mobo: ~$70, Processor: ~$80, Case+PSU: $120, 512MB of memory: $50, 80GB disk: $60, cdrom drive: $20

That's $400 and gonna be the very low end of the lowest.

Where do you shop?

Tom

Re:Ms should do this with Starter Edition. (1)

eWarz (610883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379485)

I JUST put together a new PC on newegg for $190 + shipping. The parent is correct.

Re:Ms should do this with Starter Edition. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379522)

Congrats, you bought used parts most likely. Or they've been severely discounted (e.g. discontinued). The actual retail cost ... [sounds like price is right] is a bit higher than $200.

Tom

Tamper proof hardware? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379411)

It doesn't go into details about how the anti tampering works.
Is this a seperate sub system that is independent of the OS
and it removed/disabled then disables the whole PC? Or is it
integrated with windows in which case surely just installing
a new OS (assuming you can boot off a CD/floppy) would bypass it?
Anyone have any technical info?

targetting the micro user (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379417)

This seems to be a good ploy to target the micro user who cannot afford to buy the full version or doesn't have use for it a long time. I see a similarity with adobe, which launched its elements editions of its popular software photoshop for 1/10 the price with only necessary features.

Who does this really benefit? (2, Interesting)

JamesTKirk (876319) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379456)

Wow, you have to hand it to the Microsoft marketing guys. Microsoft finds a way to allow banks to squeeze an extra 20% (my guess) out of low-income people, which of course also increases sales for Microsoft, and they manage to spin this as a benefit to those low-income people.

I may be ignorant, but what do low-income people need PCs for anyway? Do they really need sofware to balance their checkbooks, or file their taxes? Are they really cranking out a lot of documents? It seems to me that the real need for PCs in emerging markets is for students. If Microsoft or the banks want to help these students, they should provide them with financial assistance, or no-interest loans to buy them. They shouldn't cripple them with lockouts. "I'm sorry, I couldn't finish my paper because my parents couldn't afford to pay for the computer this month".

Re:Who does this really benefit? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379501)

Here's a thought, maybe these "third world" nations should focus on getting technology in the classroom. When students evolve to handle real jobs (other than sorting beans or whatever) they can then afford computers in the home.

You think everyone had computers in their homes in 1960? 1970? hell even 1980 and 1990? I still remember going to a friends house in the early 90s because he had a Pentium.

The problem is we're violating the prime directive here. They wanna play catchup and have all the nice toys we have right now without developing a society to make it really feasiable.

I mean with my salary, I could live like a fucking King in most nations. But that is just because my job is worth something in the society I am (apparently). Right now there really isn't any African silicon valley if you know what I mean...

Tom

Excellent Idea (2, Funny)

Unski (821437) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379477)

In fact I writing this from an MS PAYG machine right now. You can even able to purchase denominations as low as 30 seconds which ought be more than enough time to

Does it include? (1)

gmerideth (107286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379525)

Does it include free-time to install security updates or how about wasting 2 hours of time to remove embedded spyware? Does this program mean that the end user would need to pay not only to have pervasive software removed but also pay Microsoft for the time it takes to get rid of it?

And when Windows crashes (1)

richpulp (942320) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379558)

So.. our hapless user has just bought five hours time on his pc, and after opening a couple of programs, the system crashes. Do they get a credit for the time that the PC is down as well?

As Office Space put it.... (1, Funny)

10Ghz (453478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379560)

Steve Ballmer: "I once had a great idea..."

Geek A: "Really Steve, what was it?"

Ballmer: "Well, allright! It was an idea for "pay-as-you-go"-computing! You see, there's this full-featured computer, but you have to buy these tokens in order to use it"

Geek A: "That is the worst idea I have ever heard in my life Steve"

Geek B: "Yes, this is horrible, this idea."

Microsoft a martketing company - not innovative (1)

grouchal (59752) | more than 8 years ago | (#15379563)

This is just marketing - this won't add up economically for users - will it? I guess they have done trials in places, but I can only see M$ winning at this game. If you have to pay 1/3 upfront - it could be better invested w/o the M$ stuff on the machine. Also are there not internet cafes around in cities that will be cheaper and be real "pay as you use"? This seems like an idea waiting for a reason to exist. I think perhaps they should realise that the real way to help bridge any digital divide is not to make money out of the people on the otherside.
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