Microsoft contemplating pay-per-use PC model?

“Microsoft may be experimenting with the idea of selling PCs in the same way as cellphones are currently sold, patent filings suggest,” Electronista reports.

“A recently-published patent application proposes selling “standard model” PCs at a significant discount, with the rest of the price being subsidized by an unspecified part of the supply chain. The real cost would be shifted into a usage contract, determining how long a person would have to use their machine,” Electronista reports.

“Buyers might alternately be asked to pick from general packages, such as office, gaming or browsing bundles, each with a different hourly rate; expanding functionality would require switching to a new package. Controlling a person’s ability to use their computer would be a new security module, locking a PC to a given supplier, while also restricting functionality,” Electronista reports.

More info and links in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Don’t the Windows sufferers already pay enough in frustration, stress, and lost productivity?


  1. The good thing about this (form an anti-MS viewpoint), is that Microsoft sucks rather badly at exactly this kind of thing. One of the biggest failures of Vista was how they marketed it, especially the multiple “version” that all cost different amounts. This is basically the same thing on steroids.

    The more effort they spend on this idea, the more energy they *don’t* have for doing anything that could actually revive their business. I say, “… run with it Balmer. Go, go, go!!!!” ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. I thought that’s how things already worked. Every two years, my Dell PC grinds to a halt and I have to get a new Windows License. I hear the pink laptop licenses have the greatest longevity.

  3. Heh;
    Well said MDN>

    Hopefully the folks that like that kind of model have been burned by the real estate / mortgage meltdown and now realize that “pay as you go” means “pay lots more dough”.

  4. The article stated that in just a couple of months, you would start paying more for the computer and service than you would if you went to Wal-Fart and bought a POS PC with Windoze.

    I guess this ascribes to the philosophy of the inspiration of Microsoft, someone to whom Ballmer deeply respects, the late, great P.T. Barnum, famous for these inspiring words:

    “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

  5. This sounds like a way to lock people into Windows for 2 or 3 years like cellphone companies lock people into their contracts.

    So let’s see how this will work. People pay $100 for a fine Windows computer. Within a few months the machine turns into a POS because of bloat, viruses, spyware, etc., etc. and then sits in the corner with little use. However, every month a bill from MS arrives in the mail demanding your $29.95 or $49.95, or $99.95 monthly payment for something you cannot use.

    Result will be that for 2 or 3 years, MS will keep the sheep in the pet. But after paying for nothing for 2 or 3 years, once the pen opens, the pissed off sheep will head straight to the Apple Store.

    Apple will then achieve 50%+ market share outside the Enterprise.

  6. Yeah because the cellular business paradigm is so loved be the end user – NOT.

    Here’s a clue folks. This is a very stupid business model for MS, the one and only reason they would even contemplate this is because they have seven tenths of the world in their pocket already. There’s absolutely no other way it could even possibly work.

  7. Microsoft might be looking at their future. They see the end of the Windows Monopoly is headed in fast and they will soon need a new model to generate cash. The Music Labels didn’t see the end coming and they let the industry crumble around them all the while blaming everyone but themselves, the real responsible parties in the collapse of their profits. The Music Industry is still hoping against hope that they can make rental revenues and a reoccurring fee work. Microsoft see that in order for them to survive and profit they need to start creating that reoccurring revenue stream to start locking customer’s into now, they need to start softening the users prospective and find ways to start renting the licenses Microsoft OS and their Applications in a reoccurring way so that you are always playing Microsoft for the use of their stuff and your data is locked into that MS environment so, you’ll need to always pay Microsoft. Microsoft will give you a cheap or no cost PC with a Windows Time Rental Plan to compete with the Unlimited Apple Mac OS X and Linux/UNIX machines.

    Let’s face it people are stupid they will pay MS a Monthly Fee $$$ to use their Applications for X hours a month on a crappy free or very low cost PC were MS subsidizing the cost of the system. Mark my words this is how MS plans to stay relevant in the future.

    Free PC with 65 hours of MS Windows for 89.95/month. (requires a 4 year service plan with Microsoft must have internet access for monthly activation and usage monitoring. Hardware service contract not included. Dual system booting not permitted and user does not have system level administrator access, must purchase only approved software from MS for your plan see contract for details.)

  8. Seems to me that this is not “pay per use” but more a PC BY SUBSCRIPTION. You pay a monthly fee and you get to use the PC. Broadband service, tech support, and software updates (for the included software) are part of the package. However, the OS is locked down so you cannot install your own software.

    It’s not necessarily a bad idea. A large percentage of users today do not need any more software than a web browser, email app, and simple word processor (and email app and word processor could be handled by the browser too using web apps). The computer would become an “monthly fee appliance” like a TiVo box.

    Someone other than Microsoft (or Apple) should do it using Linux and FireFox.

  9. Well, silly me. I didn’t think Microsoft sold PC’s. I thought they sold software. So maybe the writer meant that they want to resell the use of the operating system to you everytime you use it.
    Gee, I guess that will lead to a boom in competitive software that doesn’t make you pay and pay and pay. You know, software that actually works. I think they ought to have to pay their customers for unbelievable virus prone software with hours and hours wasted updating the virus packages.

    When does the user get some recognition that a software package sold is supposed to work as advertised. The buyer deserves compensation for broken promises.

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