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Microsoft Introduces Pay-as-You-Go Computing 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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Microsoft Introduces Pay-as-You-Go Computing

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  • On-demand computing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:02AM (#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...
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kranfer ( 620510 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:04AM (#15379226) Homepage Journal
    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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:08AM (#15379243) Journal

      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? (Score:2, Insightful)

        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? (Score:3, Informative)

          by tomhudson ( 43916 )

          t 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.

          Why would it be hard for "Joe Sixpack who just wants to read his mail"? If that's all he wants to do, he can buy a used laptop for $50. Add in a new battery ($50) and a wifi card ($50) and he can read his email pretty much anywhere.

    • 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.
      • It would take years to pay as much in rent as you would to buy the house. It's not comparable at all.
        • You likely know all this, but just for the sake of point...

          This is why mortgages exist. Mortgages allows people to make payments similar to rent, but they own the property and gain the benefits of ownership.

          But thats not to say that it is cheaper. Generally owning is more expensive, but thats becuase it is, at least in part, a saving mechanism over time. So part of the money you write a check for each month becomes yours. And ideally, you also reap the benefits of the value of your house going up.

          Renting is
      • Re:Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by uniqueUser ( 879166 )
        I have a question. Forget about M$ for a second. Would you pay a monthly service to make sure you always have a top-of-the-line computer? Let's say that you can pick the OS. You just pay a flat monthly fee and you always have the latest software, and the latest hardware including GPU's RAM, HD, whatever. You would probably want to keep a fileserver somewhere on your network so that You don't have to keep coping all of your p0rn to the new machine. You could also keep a setting file there to so that you
    • by Tx ( 96709 )
      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? (Score:3, Funny)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )
      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? (Score:4, Funny)

      by tomstdenis ( 446163 ) <tomstdenis@gmCOMMAail.com minus punct> on Monday May 22, 2006 @09:13AM (#15379574) Homepage
      where you pay $5000 for a PC that costs $500

      *cough* Apple *cough*. :-)

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

    • I'm just imagining the scenario where people are breaking into their own computer to get the tokens out. So what happens when you run out and it's ten minutes before a test solution needs to be posted online. This just sounds like an even less reliable computing method, all costs barred. I'm sure if someone in the US is creative enough, they can find people willing to GIVE them a pc of moderate quality. For developing countries, as a means of bringing this to the market, yeah maybe, but it makes sense wh
    • Why does it seem Microsoft is running out of good ideas?

      So if my cousin, Jose Gonzalez, upgrades to this, he will be paying Microsoft when he uses the Firefox or the OpenOffice? And he will be paying Microsoft when SETI@home is running during his lunch break and siesta?

      And he will also be paying Microsoft when he dual boots to Linux (which he has to do to participate in his classes in System Architecture at University)?

      I do think that Jose will be using this "pay as you go" method of "ownership". I d

    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hey! ( 33014 )
      Well, depends on what you mean by "why"?

      The financial "why" has several aspects. First, upgrade business isn't like it used to be. Not like it was in the early 1990s when we were still on the technology adoption curve and products were improving in ways that were significant to lots of people. Back in the day, you were constantly increasing the rate of computer adoption, which meant you were buying new software and upgrading old software to maintain compatibility. Now it's mostly replacement, and if you
    • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      How long would it be before you actually pay the amount that a new PC/Windows would cost for this?

      It doesn't matter. What matters is whether people will pay for it. You gave a perfect example with Rent-a-center -- it doesn't matter that it's a bad idea to rent-to-own, what matters is that there are people who do it. Rent-a-center isn't stupid for offering rent-to-own, they're smart for taking advantage of the market and likewise, if there's enough demand for pay-as-you-go computing to make a good profit, th

  • Innovative strategy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by goldaryn ( 834427 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:04AM (#15379228) Homepage
    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.
  • Giggle giggle (Score:3, Insightful)

    by suv4x4 ( 956391 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:04AM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by realnowhereman ( 263389 ) <andyparkins@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:14AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:31AM (#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.
    • I was about to say the same thing. This model really doesn't seem very logical.
      With time sharing you divide the cost of expensive hardware over many users. The idea is that not everyone needs to use the computer at the same time.
      With this program it is like a really dumb rent to own system.
      No one else gets to use the hardware when you are not using it. You do not get to divide the cost of hardware over multiple users.
      This seems like one very dumb business model.
  • It's the same tactic used to lease-to-own cars to people who can't really afford them


    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.

  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:10AM (#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.
    • Incidentally, that's what they intend to do! Notice how they're pushing hard for "Trusted Computing"?
    • by indaba ( 32226 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:31AM (#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.

    • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @10:00AM (#15379937)
      Give the man a cigar!

      Now, the question becomes whether you can extract 1/3 of the value of the PC in parts.
      Question is only valid for the components that don't require TCPA to function at all.

      What--TCPA required in individual components? I thought this was just a motherboard thing so we couldnt' run Linux and pirate CDs?
      Guess again, Sunshine.

      Wanna upgrade your monitor?
      Sure. But don't bother trying to find a local source for that Lucky Goldstar monitor you found on that Korean website.
      Only [Dell/Gateway/Microsoft/Walmart/Cosco/YouNameIt] monitors (rebranded LG monitors at three times the price, natch) will work, though.

      Man, this is freakin' fantastic! Hardware compatability (no--hardware functionality--this keeps getting better!) will be strictly at the whim of the vendor.
      Five years from now, "obsolete" won't mean "still does what it did when you bought it, but there's shinier stuff on the shelf this week"

      "Obsolete" will mean: Vendor support for this version of hardware has ended:

      • Due to privacy/security/safety/regulatory/end-of-lifecycl e (take your pick or add your own)... concerns, the following models and versions of [product] have been removed from the list of supported hardware.
      • [Company] holds in the highest regard your rights as a consumer to maintain control and possession of products that you own. However, please note that the following functionality must, by law, be disabled for non-supported hardware:
        1. Connection to any other hardware, including network devices.
        2. Connection to any wireless network to which any other hardware is connected.
        3. Installation or execution of any licensed software.
        4. Playback, Recording, erasure, or transfer of any media.
        5. ...
      • This protects the rights of all consumers to access shared resources without risk to security/privacy/.... caused by unregulated or "rogue" devices or persons.
      • We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and direct you to our new line of supported products, avaliable at....

      DMCA already means you'd be insane to risk hacking your hardware to get it working again.

      And recycling laws will mean the hardware has to go back to a licensed recycler
      So, don't try to sell it to a guy what knows a guy what can get it workin' again...

    • Even better.... just boot up from an external drive... then you don't have to touch anything (maybe move a master/slave pin around a little... ironically as it were).

  • Ingenious (Score:3, Funny)

    by ptelligence ( 685287 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:11AM (#15379256)
    Pay-as-You-Go rates force you to shutdown/reboot long before the computer crashes on its own.

  • 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 l
  • Won't work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stm2 ( 141831 ) <(sbassi) (at) (genesdigitales.com)> on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:13AM (#15379265) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • Agreed. Here at Brazil, the small shops stopped selling PCs with (ilegal) Windows, but anyone can get a pirate CD at any corner for less than $5.

      I can't really imagine who would by this (paying 1/3 of the price up-front) instead of the normal version or a pirate one.

  • All of a sudden... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Noryungi ( 70322 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:13AM (#15379268) Homepage Journal
    ... 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? :-)
    • by kesuki ( 321456 )
      first of all, microsoft will eventually tank anyways, and most likely the guys on wallstreet will want to know when it happens, so they can be prpepared for it. At some point either bill gates will stop trying or die, or whatever, or he will over compete, and create such a strong backlash from his ruthless efforts to make open source software illegal/prevent any commercial software companies from competing that the government really does break microsoft up.

      That or microsoft will spend all it's vast energy
  • by eggoeater ( 704775 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:14AM (#15379270) Journal
    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.

  • Filthy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by linvir ( 970218 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:16AM (#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...

    • Why are you a troll if they actually ARE being evil?
    • Re:Filthy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by icepick72 ( 834363 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @09:41AM (#15379788)
      a way to drip feed the poor with an operating system they couldn't afford before

      This is about much more than an operating system -- it encompasses the entire hardware. The Windows OS is just a fraction of the cost, however maybe only Windows OS supports the pay-as-you-go integration with the hardware right now. The same model could be used to buy a machine that runs Mac OSX or Linux. It's a novel idea and an alternative to the $100 PC.

      • What $100 PC are you talking about? The only ones I know about are this one [com.com] in India and a theoretical one talked about by Ballmer. If you mean the $100 laptop, then you're barking up the wrong tree, because that's a government-issue educational tool for kids, not a commercial PC for the market.

        A "fraction" is very variable. For the sort of hardware people are buying in the target countries of this idea, the fraction is in the region of ½, and in Brazil at least, poor people are already starting to buy [businessweek.com]

  • Just wondering (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rorian ( 88503 )
    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 i
    • 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 trou
    • 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 ...

  • by Peter Simpson ( 112887 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:23AM (#15379300)
    ...which will be another $30/month
    • 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.

  • ...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...

  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:24AM (#15379304) Journal
    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... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geoff lane ( 93738 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:27AM (#15379312)
    ...why Microsoft is so dismissive of the $100 PC.
    • by babbling ( 952366 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @08:36AM (#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?
    • We've always known that:

      They're dismissive of it because as the physical hardware gets cheaper and cheaper, the prices they demand for software that is otherwise free (both senses) become more and more ridicolous.

      It's one thing to have a $90 operating-system and a $500 office-suite on a modern developer-laptop costing in total maybe $3000. It's expensive.

      But it's simply ridicolous to suggest people should buy a $100 computer, and then add $600 in software.

      Hardware-prices are falling rapidly. This le

      • But it's simply ridicolous to suggest people should buy a $100 computer, and then add $600 in software.

        Why? My DVD player cost $100, but I've spent many, many times over that in software. My portable CD player cost less than $50, but tally up what I've spent in music and it dwarfs that. Xbox cost $299, but the software cost is much higher.

        When hardware is commodified, the software is naturally the most expensive part.
  • This is why everyone should get a Mac. :P
    • 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.

    • >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.)
  • 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
  • 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 basicall
  • 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?
  • 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 ne
    • 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
  • by Unski ( 821437 )
    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 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?
  • 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."
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday May 22, 2006 @09:13AM (#15379578)
    MS has been trying that concept for years. Some might remember when Gates introduced the idea that you won't even have to install Office or any Program anymore, you just stream it from the 'net. Someone must've told him that this would mean load times of a few minutes, or we'd have seen something like that by now. But when you look at the Office Document format, you'll notice it is actually a streaming format. Not necessarily something you'd expect in an "ordinary" file format, more something to be expected in a format that is supposedly loaded through a slow net connection.

    That MS-Office can't "open" a document until it has loaded it entirely is a different matter. But in theory you can stream docs.

    But back on topic. MS has been dreaming in this direction for a while now. After all, look at the advantages for them: First and foremost, full application control. It would even be possible to limit the capabilities later. Currently, you have the "problem" that, if something is possible to the user that the user deems beneficial but you don't enjoy in your software, you have a VERY hard time convincing him to upgrade to the next version, that has more features you want but less of what the user wants.

    Then of course recurring revenue. Now, you buy Office and you use it. Forever. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who still has an Office97 running somewhere. Why upgrade? Newer versions don't offer any benefit. The only ones who do actually upgrade are companies that already fell for the "corporate agreement" bundle. But that doesn't offer ANY benefit for the average person.

    This is just an attempt to force this kind of "agreement" down our throats. Since, after all, it's just a few cents every time you use your Word...
  • Want to see me cut down on my computing time? Charge me by use. I'll find better things to do with my time.
  • by JoeCommodore ( 567479 ) <larry@portcommodore.com> on Monday May 22, 2006 @09:23AM (#15379654) Homepage
    This sounds like a "jumping the shark" move for microsoft, especially in India, Russia, China and Mexico.

    And what about Total Cost of Ownership... Oh wait, that's Microsoft's TCO, not the users... ;-)

  • From MS:
    This technology supports two models today: a pay-as-you-go model enabled by prepaid cards or a subscription model with monthly payments.

    Pay as you go is just like getting a free cell phone and paying for the minutes. Subscription is like getting a free phone and paying a flat fee for unlimited calling.

    Now, with business models enabled by FlexGo, Microsoft is removing these [financial] barriers to PC ownership.
  • hrm (Score:2, Funny)

    by Rydia ( 556444 )
    Sounds a bit "pay as you go" [idiottoys.com].

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