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Prepaid computing?


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#1
dsenette

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[quote name='http://redmondmag.com/news/article.asp?editorialsid=7461']May 22, 2006 • by The Associated Press

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.

Redmond-based 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 Microsoft's Windows operating system. 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.
[/quote]
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#2
Mr. Green

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That seems upfront like a very good idea for people that cannot afford a computer at retail but why not just get on a payment plan? What is the incentive if you are just going to "pay it off" anyways with the prepaid minutes? There would be numerous questions that need to be resolved; can you upgrade software, hardware? Would you have liability for damages? How long can you maintain possession of the device with out paying for it? Wow, so many questions come to mind. I guess I am just to pessimistic lately, getting shot at does that to you.
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#3
dsenette

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i think by their description of the service...you pay for half of the machine up front....and then you pay f or your prepaid cards...if you don't update the card....then the thing stops working...completely stops working....so if you don't wanna pay...you don't get a working computer...so i doubt they would care about you having it sitting there without paying for it...cuz you can't use it....now...it would be interesting t o know how they plan to take into account someone formatting the hd...or ripping out the mobo to get around this ...cuz...honestly...paying h alf price for a decent system...then just buying a new motherboard still comes out cheaper than buying a spanking new pc
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#4
Mr. Green

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That is exactly what I was thinking. I am nothing special when it comes to computers (but yet I am my sections computer admin, very scary) but even I know how to reformat a harddrive. HHhhhmm maybe I should go on a little trip to Russia, always wanted to go back to my roots anyways.
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