Microsoft introduces pay-as-you-go PCs

“When you haven’t got the dough, try pay-as-you-go. That could be a potential axiom for the nifty business model launched in Brazil today by Microsoft. After several market trials, the company is announcing the release of computers powered by FlexGo, a technology which lets users pay by the hour using cards bought from local vendors,” Parmy Olson reports for Forbes. “If you’re familiar with the pay-as-you-go method for cell phones, FlexGo uses a similar system. A customer who buys a FlexGo-powered PC would pay half the normal retail price at a shop, and would from then on purchase multicolored pre-paid cards to get hourly access to the computer.”

“The users would type in the card number via a program in Windows, and if they card runs out, the computer stops working. A PC that normally sold for $600 would go for around $300 with 10 hours of usage time included, and the pre-paid hours would go towards paying off the computer,” Olson reports. “In a statement Microsoft, led by co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates, said the new method brought ‘the flexibility of an Internet cafe into the home,’ and allowed users to avoid high fixed-monthly loan payments required to finance a PC.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: An interesting idea. Rent-to-own personal computers. Eventually, users pay off the PC and own it outright. It could be used as a way to get a more expensive PC than one could afford to buy – sort of like vehicle leasing.

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  1. Of course a Microsoft IT Weenie will come out remove the viruses on the computer and debug the Microsoft software they are renting you.

    Subscription taken down to the ‘Nth’ degree. You stop paying and you no longer have a computer.

  2. You bring up an interesting point WJ. When one is faced with computer problems that arise from a flaw in the design of the operating system, will that person have his/her card billed against that problem. I’ve seen some nasty pop-up/messenger malware that completely takes over a system. So, to the billing system it would appear that the person is using the computer when, in fact, it has been hijacked.

  3. I think they will hit it big if it is as easy as it sounds. I didn’t read the article though.
    “financing” or putting up as little capital up front as possible has caught like wild fire for a reason.

    This country does not know how to save money and be patient any more. When anyone will give you credit without hesitation, why should they.


    MDN: History, what does history tell us?

  4. An interesting idea. Rent-to-own personal computers. Eventually, users pay off the PC and own it outright.

    Somehow it doesn’t actually say that! There is no statement in the story as to when the PC is owned by the person. Gee it comes with a free first 10 hours. How much time did you spend on your new Mac when you fired it up. That 10 hurs will beburned up in the first day.

    Where is the extra info on rent to buy? How much will it actually cost these guys to own that wonderful windows box??????


  5. You really think the pay-as-you-go scheme will end once the computer is paid off? The article doesn’t mention what the payoff rate will be — they could well be paying on this thing for years.

    Think cellphones. You might rent the phone, or you may own it, but you’re still going to pay handsomely for the connectivity that makes it work.

    I think this is a test case for a new market model — pay-as-you-go hardware loaded with pay-as-you-go software.

    Look at what MS is trying to accomplish with URGE. They want to rent your music to you. Subscription-based model.

    Take a look at Microsoft Office Live:

    $29.95/mo will buy you the *online use* of their live collaboration software. This is definitely where Microsoft is going — rental software coupled with rental hardware.

    Sad thing is, they’ll probably make a killing on it.

    MW: because — “because” people are sheep.

  6. Sleeve.

    Can you be specific about what is retarted about the plan?. Have you ever been to Latin America?

    In that part of the world the average person doesn’t have $800 to blow on a computer. Not to mention that utilities, phone service, and other things are expensive which we take for granted in more developed nations.

    MS ideas is great. Give consumers something for less (even if it isn’t a great system) and allow them to pay as they go for the most important computer tasks. In the process MS locks up they lock up more customers. What is Apple doing in Brazil?……nothing

    MS has been wanting to penetrate Brazil for a long time because it is a market 5 times the size of Canada (no offense to my canadian friends) and the Brazilian goverment is a big supporter of open source technologies which MS is trying to fight off. I find this to be a great idea

    I’d love to see Apple do something like that but I don’t think they will since it likes to charge a premium for its products and Latin America has been pretty much ignored by its management.

  7. First you pay for the computer, then you pay for the right to use your computer. It’s not surprising that an idea like that is coming from Microsoft.

    Managers that are blinded by dollar sign’s floating in front of their face and ignore what consumers want and are willing to pay for are domed to fail.

  8. Microsoftst new pay as you go program for a computer: $300

    New 10 hour card: $50

    Hammer at the local Brazillian Ace Hardware store to fix computer: $25

    Time wasted Ctrl+Alt+Delting and Bluescreen-Surfing: Costly – But Priceless

    MasterCard + Microsoft, Where Aren’t you going today?

  9. I wonder what sort of security is included with it. What prevents people from buying a computer for half price, reformating it, pulling out cards, whatever and using it without MS’s little scheme. Or just taking it for parts. Either brazilians are very honest people or some of them were just given a very profitable businesss.

    MDN: two points for not tearing the idea apart just because it’s microsofts but your take just resates the article and the obvious. It makes me feel like I’m being talked down to.

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