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Last post Author Topic: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?  (Read 9852 times)

zridling

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Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« on: December 30, 2008, 03:09:31 PM »
Microsoft doesn't think so, and has filed a patent on the idea.

dumbstruck-dog-small.jpg

Basically the idea is this: Your computer becomes a meter. Deposit money (in some form), it will run. Stop feeding it cash, and you computer becomes a brick. As cloud computing overtakes the traditional idea of local computing, then PC hardware should be much like your cellphone: pay for what you use when you use it. And when you need more computing power or you get another machine and continue paying for its use, with little or no cost for the actual machine. $1.25 to surf the web for an hour? $1 to play a game for an hour? To me, this smells like Microsoft is desperate to return to the days of Compuserve, AOL, and MSN, where you paid a corporation for both access and what content you're allowed to see online.

I VOTE NO.

Shades

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2008, 04:45:32 PM »
As a company I can understand the reasoning behind this concept...who would say no to a steady (and huge!) customer cash flow while being in control of content  which generates another cash flow.

That whole "cloud computing" thingy will get never any hold of my system(s) in any way...and now this?

zridling, even if you are not happy with it or not...count me in as a member of your NO-voting camp.

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 04:57:26 PM »
+2 for a big, fat NO! Vote  :down: :mad: :o
"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

40hz

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2008, 05:15:02 PM »
It's just the old "rent clicks on a time-share terminal connected to a mainframe" decked out in Web 2.0 lingerie.

I don't know what's sadder: Microsoft attempting to re-patent the 'pay phone' - or the very real chance that the U.S. Patent Office just might be stupid enough to let them.


app103

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 05:37:24 PM »
What is the major difference between this business model and an internet cafe, from the end user's perspective?

How about those mobile phone companies that supply the phone and bill you a base price by the month, plus additional fees for usage?

And how do you get a patent for an idea for a business model any way? The patent office only grants patents for inventions...implementations of ideas and not the idea itself.

Just because they filed for the patent doesn't mean it will be granted. Anyone can file for a patent on anything they want, doesn't mean you'll get the patent, and doesn't mean the patent is worth anything even if you do get it. There are plenty of stupid things that are completely worthless that have been patented.

I came pretty close to patenting something I made and used when my daughter was very small, but would likely make me the victim of many lawsuits from irresponsible mothers, if I ever released the product to the public. I still could have wasted my time & money getting a patent on it though, even if I never had any intention of manufacturing & selling the product.

It was an elastic strap with a loop/snap on each end, used to hold baby bottles (or toys) to a stroller (or car seat), so if the child dropped it, it wouldn't hit the ground (or floor) and get lost (or dirty). Some mother would be likely to end up using it in a crib, playpen, or another situation where they aren't watching their child all that closely and then hold me responsible if their kid got strangled and died while they were neglecting them. (baby products need to be completely idiot-proof, not because babies are idiots, but too many of their parents are)

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2008, 06:04:34 PM »
It's just the old "rent clicks on a time-share terminal connected to a mainframe" decked out in Web 2.0 lingerie.

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2008, 06:39:59 PM »
I think it is fair enough for MS to do what they want. Given that there are MANY better cloud computer solutions out there which are totally free only idiots will pay MS and as people realise what MS is trying to achieve it can only do wonders for other compaines (not least Linux).

PC manufacturers aren't going to be happy if they don't get their cut of OEM licenses!

Cloq

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 06:59:08 PM »
MMO-Microsoft ...

Hello Ubuntu.

Davidtheo

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2008, 07:24:02 PM »
Sounds like just another way for MS to control your computer. I vote NO I like my computer being mine.

zridling

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2008, 08:19:48 PM »
app103, the parallel seems instead to be Apple's iPhone. Give Apple a set amount for the phone itself, but Apple controls everything else, including what software is allowed to be sold for the device, what the monthly rate will be, and even whom the [wireless] provider will be and for how long. Microsoft may never follow up on the idea, but for some reason, they're wanting the patent, and the US Patent Office has long granted patents to obvious ideas. About the only one I remember being turned down was from another government office, which Microsoft wanted to trademark the word windows.

I just can't believe someone would pay for the privilege of someone else controlling your computer, not to mention access to it, invariably under the motivation to charge you to use it! The device, whether it's a laptop, desktop, tablet, or netbook, is far too cheap for this model to work. Microsoft Office is not the lure it once was. As I've yelped many times before, I'm not ceding control of my data to anyone else, much less a corporation. Better would be to offer me an always-on, spamless, unlimited storage, i7 chip, secure computer.

Last time I checked, these were the same entities who want me to buy diamonds and cars as xmas presents, give them consecutive taxpayer bailouts, and all the while they want make sure grandpa doesn't lose his erection for 96 hours. Tell grandpa he's had enough, zip it, and turn on the TV!!

 :D  >:(

Darwin

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2008, 08:51:21 PM »
Last time I checked, these were the same entities who want me to buy diamonds and cars as xmas presents, give them consecutive taxpayer bailouts, and all the while they want make sure grandpa doesn't lose his erection for 96 hours. Tell grandpa he's had enough, zip it, and turn on the TV!!

"Some people have a way with words, other people,... oh... have not way" - Steve Martin

nite_monkey

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2008, 09:00:43 PM »
sounds like I need to figure out how to get my computer to run either ubuntu or some other linux os...
[Insert really cool signature here]

Josh

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2008, 11:05:49 PM »
As app said, how is this different from a net cafe or the AT&T PowerZones which are used across the world for the US Military students going through their technical training? I don't see it as a bad idea because, regardless of what you or I think, people will pay and use it. This isn't a new idea either, Microsoft introduced the idea several years ago, although I cannot find the article, and discussed this very process. It is logical, and people will pay. Why should Microsoft NOT do it? Because the power users don't agree with it? This isn't a service targetted at a power user. It's a service targetted at a user who doesn't have a day-to-day need for a normal PC Terminal.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2008, 03:33:40 AM »
I am not so sure people will pay. Many non-geek users now using computers see the price of even cheap computers as expensive. Once you add an expensive monthly cost to get broadband they start to get irritated. If MS try any add a silly monthly subscription for 'using' the computer people will rebel and suddenly see the point of open source.

What's more large OEMs will also see the point and increase the push towards Linux - it is already beginning to happen because they can make computers cheaper and with the advent of the netbook which only seems to support XP which will die in 2010 even for them I think tOEMs will take the plunge and install Linux. Once the cat is out of the bag MS will find it hard to stuff it back in the sack again.

Add to that once hardware manufacturers see Linux appearing on new computers more widely they will start producing decent specific drivers for Linux for their hardware and once that important door is kicked in Linux becaomes a whole new proposition.

MS suggested the software subscription model years ago and ran away screaming at the prospect of shooting themselves in the foot. Cloud computing is a variation on that idea. Of course there is nothing that they would like more than the option to print money but subscription models would open the world to competition in a way that MS would not be happy to see.

Personally I think Windows Vista has done a wonderful job at illustarting what MS thinks of its customers - they are a money source only. The fact that many business actually opt to upgrade to Windows XP and MS have been forced to allow them do this only shows the independent mind of consumers and businesses is growing. It isn't a huge step to ask the question 'why do I have to pay to upgrade at all?'

zridling

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2008, 09:55:05 AM »
Quote
[Carol]: What's more large OEMs will also see the point and increase the push towards Linux.
As of Nov. 2008, every major OEM now offers at least one Linux computer for sale. To me, that's a huge foot in the door. I credit it to the netbook phenom, which people bought and saw that the pretty little OS running on it wasn't scary after all.

Quote
[Carol]: It isn't a huge step to ask the question 'Why do I have to pay to upgrade at all?'
It may sound silly, but I keep asking myself: Is XP just too good? If nothing else, it gets the job done, and there has been so much great software written to run on it. Still, Vista broke the myth of the inevitable upgrade. Linux is not immune. While the internals get updated, there are quite a few distros out there that take years to upgrade rather than what's trendy because of Ubuntu (to upgrade every six months).

40hz

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #15 on: December 31, 2008, 07:38:18 PM »

As of Nov. 2008, every major OEM now offers at least one Linux computer for sale. To me, that's a huge foot in the door. I credit it to the netbook phenom, which people bought and saw that the pretty little OS running on it wasn't scary after all.

Unfortunately for the Linux camp, Microsoft quickly realized the threat posed by running NIX on netbook devices and has apparently inserted its own foot in that door big time. Does this constitute a threat or a confirmation for Linux?

Here's two different takes on the subject:

Is Windows 7 the Linux-netbook killer? by Chakkaradeep Chandran 

http://www.neowin.ne...linux-netbook-killer

Windows 7 no threat to netbook Linux. by Henry Kingman

http://www.linux-wat...ws/NS7955116339.html


Quote
[Carol]: It isn't a huge step to ask the question 'Why do I have to pay to upgrade at all?'
It may sound silly, but I keep asking myself: Is XP just too good? If nothing else, it gets the job done, and there has been so much great software written to run on it. Still, Vista broke the myth of the inevitable upgrade.

The only problem with sticking with XP will emerge once Microsoft stops doing security upgrades. Once XP becomes a static codebase, it will be a sitting duck for exploits due to the flawed (some say non-existent) design of its security .

Linux is not immune. While the internals get updated, there are quite a few distros out there that take years to upgrade rather than what's trendy because of Ubuntu (to upgrade every six months).

Sooooo true! But still...all those choices...

Here's a new case badge for when you install Linux if you're anything like me!  ;D:

WhateverBadge2.gif


With my apologies to Berkley Breathed
« Last Edit: January 01, 2009, 11:21:53 AM by 40hz »

zridling

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2009, 11:25:37 AM »
Man, 40hz, that is so true. I could be happy with any of a dozen distros at any given time.

Unlike Linux however, whether it be XP or Win7, Windows has to be rewritten to fit on a netbook... or a smartphone... or other mobile devices. That's cumbersome, costly, and will always put it in catch-up mode. Moreover, if you shop for netbooks, it's truly depressing to see that XP adds anywhere from $150-$300 to the cost depending on the vendor. Add in the crazy factor of users thinking that netbooks are the same as desktop machines and asking the hardware to do impossibly more than its capabilities, then the consumer really must make exceptions to run Windows on the netbook.

Josh

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2009, 11:32:31 AM »
Wait a minute, you mean the linux KERNEL doesn't have to be re-written correct? I am fairly certain that unless you want to run just the kernel alone, you will have to make a customized distro which includes KDE, Gnome, fluxbox, or whatever WM customized to run on said netbook. Am I wrong?

40hz

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2009, 12:54:06 PM »
Wait a minute, you mean the linux KERNEL doesn't have to be re-written correct? I am fairly certain that unless you want to run just the kernel alone, you will have to make a customized distro which includes KDE, Gnome, fluxbox, or whatever WM customized to run on said netbook. Am I wrong?

Nope. You're quite correct! ;D

If we don't live by bread alone, neither does a computer run by kernal alone. Virtually every system will need something more than the kernal to do anything.

Of course you don't need much more than that. The Splashtop instant desktop is a great example of providing an instant-on capability by including a minimal Nix stack and small set of applications (browser, Skype, chat, etc.) on a motherboard-based chip.

Splashtop can give you a workable desktop in under ten seconds. If you do most of you work online - and you pair it with online backup and a web-based office application suite - Splashtop might even be all you need.

Find out more about Splashtop here:

http://www.splashtop...lashtop_overview.php

Splashtop can even be used independently of your disk-based OS. You can run Splashtop for when you want quick connectivity to the web - and switch to you your regular disk bootup when you need the full power of your PC! It's a truly cool idea that's bound to attract a slew of imitators with improved offerings.

Shouldn't be too much of a stretch to take it a few steps further if desired. There are already many small or 'reworked' Linux distros that boot from USB flash drives that might be adapted fairly easily. One DIY example of creating a small bootable system using Puppy Linux can be found here:

http://www.puppylinu....com/flash-puppy.htm


A quick web search, or a visit to www.pendrivelinux.com  will point you to dozens more. 8)


Re: Kernal Rewrites:

Not so much a case of rewriting the kernal as 'optimizing' it for a specific purpose, CPU architecture, or chipset. The general linux kernal includes support for a lot of things that may not be relevant on a certain hardware platform. When you "optimize" (a misnomer actually) you usually just get rid of whatever support in the kernal doesn't apply to what you're doing. Ubuntu calls it a 'remix' - which is actually a more accurate term for what they're doing.

Here's Ubuntu's take on the subject:

http://www.canonical.../projects/ubuntu/nbr

Quote
What is Ubuntu Netbook Remix?

Ubuntu Netbook Remix is optimised to run on a new category of affordable Internet-centric devices called netbooks. It includes a new consumer-friendly interface that allows users to quickly and easily get on-line and use their favourite applications. This interface is optimised for a retail sales environment.

Canonical has collaborated with Intel and is working with a number of OEM's to deliver Ubuntu on netbooks in retail. In keeping with the philosophy of our best work being available to everyone, the core remix product is available to all through the Canonical repositories. This version is free to download and modify by any user.

What is a remix?

A remix is a 'respun' version of Ubuntu built for a specific purpose. Although Canonical has encouraged community projects to use this terminology for some time, this is the first time that Canonical has used it. We are using it to differentiate from an 'Edition' which we consider a complete version with daily builds suitable for the average user with no additional work beyond installing the CD. To use the Ubuntu Netbook Remix you need to install packages on top of an existing Ubuntu installation and you may have some compatibility issues depending on your hardware profile. For now we recommend it only for experienced Linux users or commercial OEMs and ODMs engage with Canonical for support and service offerings.

Of course there's absolutely no reason why Microsoft couldn't do something similar with Windows 7 unless the core code itself is monolithic and totally bloated.

Several years ago, I seem to remember seeing some small sub-notebooks about the size of the Asus Eee that booted almost instantly and ran Windows CE (Windows Mobile?). If I recall correctly, they did much the same things as today's netbooks. They had an OS, a simplified MS Office suite and some other goodies. The only thing they lacked was network capabilities and wireless.

So let's not count Microsoft out yet. They might not have to rewrite anything since they apparently had such a product years ago, only to let it wither on the vine.

<<EDIT - made some minor edits to the paragraph that begins with "Shouldn't be too much of a stretch..." to include some stuff that I typed in originally, but forgot to post before I quit the editor. Sorry...long day :-[  >>
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 06:38:51 PM by 40hz »

Lashiec

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2009, 12:31:10 PM »
Unlike Linux however, whether it be XP or Win7, Windows has to be rewritten to fit on a netbook... or a smartphone... or other mobile devices. That's cumbersome, costly, and will always put it in catch-up mode.

But Windows 7 was demoed in a netbook... and the development of Windows Mobile continues on these days. What's there to be rewritten? Not to mention Windows 7 was developed to be more modular than its predecessors, one of the reasons is to be able to adapt to new computing systems faster.

Probably all the three major OS encountered the same problems when outing their usual platform. Mac OS X wasn't exactly ported in two days to work in the iPhone with minor work (quite the contrary actually), and the several Linux-based mobile platforms (Maemo, OpenMoko, Android) took a bit of effort to shape in full.

Going back to the topic at hand, it's probably one of the most stupid ideas ever devised. People usually don't like renting their devices, because in the long run they end up being expensive, and this is the same for all types of users. Renting a PC in this day and age is simply a phased-out idea (remember the old AOL appliances?) because those to who this kind of idea is targeted (power users are not going to bite) don't really need 'adaptable' power in their computers to perform basic tasks for which the recent trend in netbooks and cheap laptop and desktop computers are perfectly fine, and the initial price is amortized quickly.

I know that Microsoft is a big company, with tons of things going on at the same time, but really, they should focus their efforts into something 'solid' instead of wasting time with things like this.

40hz

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2009, 01:55:35 PM »
Going back to the topic at hand, it's probably one of the most stupid ideas ever devised. People usually don't like renting their devices, because in the long run they end up being expensive, and this is the same for all types of users. Renting a PC in this day and age is simply a phased-out idea (remember the old AOL appliances?) because those to who this kind of idea is targeted (power users are not going to bite) don't really need 'adaptable' power in their computers to perform basic tasks for which the recent trend in netbooks and cheap laptop and desktop computers are perfectly fine, and the initial price is amortized quickly.

When you consider how most of the major US ISPs are contemplating ways to cancel unlimited internet access plans (now that video-on-demand via the web is becoming workable) renting a PC makes a strange sort of sense. Once the connection is metered, it makes perfect sense to provide the means for every subscriber to rack up data transmissions.

Suppose you order internet through something like Cablevision or AT&T. I can easily see them offering you the choice of either a Tivo-based set box - or a 'vanilla' set box plus a cheap Windows PC as part of their package. We're already used to not owning our set box -  so for many people, it's not that big a mental stretch not to own their PC either.

I can see oldsters, the non-tech crowd, and families without a lot of money giving it serious consideration. Especially if they have kids in school.

Add that to the rosy US economic forecast and it makes even more sense. If people feel they need something that they really can't afford to buy, then they have no choice but to lease. Look at the number of families now leasing secondary cars.

Car leases saved the US Auto industry back in the 90's when their market was maxed-out. Maybe Microsoft and the PC industry feels that rentals are the solution for their own over-saturated market.


« Last Edit: January 04, 2009, 02:00:17 PM by 40hz »

zridling

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2009, 04:01:42 PM »
Quote
[Josh]: Wait a minute, you mean the linux KERNEL doesn't have to be re-written correct? I am fairly certain that unless you want to run just the kernel alone, you will have to make a customized distro which includes KDE, Gnome, fluxbox, or whatever WM customized to run on said netbook. Am I wrong?
No, Josh, you're correct on that. I should have specified the kernel. KDE and the current GNOME would be pretty heavy handed DE's on a netbook, defeating the whole purpose. If a lightweight, modular Win7 version is built for smaller devices, then that will be fantastic. What I'm seeing with everyone's XP netbooks around me is that they're treating them like a full-blown laptop, wanting to play games, download videos, and do all kinds of things it just isn't designed for.
_____________________
@40hz:
Again, the only shortcoming I see with your scenario is that PCs -- especially laptops -- are as cheap as they'll ever be. The devil comes out when that leased box/PC needs repair. If a customer gets the same nightmarish treatment that Apple gives its iPhone users, then I think the idea will quickly fail.

40hz

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2009, 05:35:01 PM »
The devil comes out when that leased box/PC needs repair. If a customer gets the same nightmarish treatment that Apple gives its iPhone users, then I think the idea will quickly fail.

Agreed. No argument from me on that point.

However, if they provide the same service we get from Cable where I live (i.e. "Box doesn't work? Just swing by the office and pickup a new one.") or satellite (We have both BTW) it just might work.

Obviously MSoft thinks so since they're going through the effort to try and get a patent on something that so obviously shouldn't be patentable. Maybe this is along the same lines as those "pre-emptive patents" OSS is pursuing?

Dunno. Still, I find it pretty interesting how the technology seems to be repositioning itself.

But as long as there's a Linux distro and some hardware components to do up one of my "bespoke boxes,"  I'll be happy. Or at least I'll try to be! :up:


BTW: Re: iPhone - Why does Apple continue to get away with it, no matter what? ;D


<Edit: corrected a minor bit of bad grammar by removing a superfluous "it">


« Last Edit: January 29, 2009, 01:29:18 PM by 40hz »

GHammer

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #23 on: January 29, 2009, 12:20:15 PM »
It's already being done in China. You pay a monthly fee, you get a computer with MS OS & apps along with your broadband connection. Seemed like a fair deal for many there. And, there are more people in China who want a computer and have a monthly payment than those who can pony up all at once.

Same country also stands as an example of why MS is not going anywhere soon.
People would rather run "BillGates" edition XP, Vista, and Office than use free alternatives. MS makes halfhearted efforts now and again to discourage that, but never too much. Gotta keep them using until they can afford to pay.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Microsoft's Pay-Per-Use PC: ...Worst? Idea? Ever?
« Reply #24 on: January 29, 2009, 01:32:46 PM »
Apple are already doing this with their various lease schemes (at least in the UK) - the difference being that at the end of the lease period you can buy the computer for a nominal sum or get a new system to continue the lease.