News

Microsoft Testing Pay-by-the-Hour PCs

Microsoft developed technology for people to pay by the hour to use a computer in their own homes.

(Seattle) Microsoft Corp. has developed technology for people to pay by the hour to use a computer in their own homes, similar to the way many people use pre-paid cards for cell phones.

The technology, called FlexGo, will be used as part of efforts to sell computers to lower-income consumers in developing countries, where Microsoft is eager to find new money-making opportunities but is battling software piracy and other barriers.

Microsoft, working with computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd. and others, plans to launch a second trial of the FlexGo plan in Brazil beginning Monday. In the next 90 days, it will launch in Mexico, China, Russia and India.

The program will generally work like this: a user will pay for about half the cost of the computer upfront, and then will purchase pre-paid cards to get hourly access to the computer at home. If the pre-paid card runs out and the user doesn't buy more hours, the computer stops working until the user buys another card.

The pre-paid hours will go toward paying off the computer, said Will Poole, a senior vice president in charge of Microsoft's market expansion group. The financing models and interest rates will vary depending on the market, so he couldn't say how much more than the retail price the user will end up paying.

The users will need at least occasional dial-up Internet access to participate in the program. It will initially feature mid-range PCs running the consumer version of Windows. But Poole said it also may eventually include other models, such as those using Microsoft's scaled-back Windows XP Starter Edition or higher-end ones running a media-centric version of Windows.

Microsoft also will work with telecommunication companies in several countries to offer computers via subscription.

Microsoft will make the same amount of money off these models as it does with traditional sales, Poole said.

FlexGo is one of several ways Microsoft has tried in recent years to make more money in emerging markets, where it sees potential to increase revenue as more developed markets for Windows grow saturated.

Featured

  • Microsoft Offers More Help on Windows Server 2008 Upgrades

    Microsoft this week published additional help resources for organizations stuck on Windows Server 2008, which fell out of support on Jan. 14.

  • Microsoft Ups Its Carbon Reduction Goals

    Microsoft on Thursday announced a corporatewide carbon reduction effort that aims to make the company "carbon negative" by 2030.

  • How To Dynamically Lock Down an Unattended Windows 10 PC

    One of the biggest security risks in any organization happens when a user walks away from their PC without logging out. Microsoft has the solution (and it's not a password-protected screensaver).

  • First Stable Chromium-Based Microsoft Edge Browser Released

    Microsoft on Wednesday announced the first release of its Chromium-based Microsoft Edge browser at the "stable" commercial-release stage.

comments powered by Disqus

Office 365 Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.