Microsoft Corp., the world’s major developer of software, along with several industry partners, have introduced technology that allows consumers to purchase personal computers (PCs) while paying for their hourly work. Theoretically, emerging markets may accept the initiative, as it greatly lowers startup costs of a PC and provides people with low income to acquire a computer.
Microsoft FlexGo technology, aligns hardware, software and service solutions to work in unison to meter and add time to the PC, so retailers, telecommunications providers, banks and system builders can offer PCs to a broader community of customers. FlexGo technology enables consumers or small businesses to have a PC at a price they can afford, and pay for time only as they use it. The technology informs users of time used, showing them how to add more hours by simply typing in a number from a prepaid card. If time is not added, the PC gradually moves into a “reserve tank” or limited-access state until customers purchase more time either online or at local vendors. The PC will be fully owned by final users after a number of hours are purchased.
Microsoft did not unveil any pricing details of computers featuring FlexGo technology, but along with the world’s largest software makers chip companies Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp. Supported the initiative. Both AMD and Intel have very cost-effective microprocessor and platform offerings, which means that users may be able to get a fully-featured computer for about $300-$400 and then pay the sum for some time after they get their devices. The main difference between FlexGo purchasing and typical credit is that in the former case customers with “with variable or unpredictable income” can manage their payments flexibly.
“Today there are already more than 1 billion prepaid mobile phones used around the world, so we know FlexGo enables a familiar and comfortable pay-as-you-go model that works for people with variable or unpredictable income,” said Will Poole, senior vice president of the market expansion group at Microsoft.
The world’s leading software maker believes that FlexGo enables providers to reduce the entry costs of PC ownership by 50% or more, and to provide a flexible approach to paying for the remaining costs of the PC.
“Offering unprecedented flexibility of PC ownership will bring high-quality personal computers within the reach of hundreds of millions of families and small businesses in emerging markets so they too can enjoy the many benefits PCs bring in education, entertainment, communication and productivity,” Mr. Poole added.
Along with the new pay-as-you-go model, Microsoft has also been working with major telecommunication companies around the globe on subscription computing offerings that provide convenient and predictable monthly payments for a full-featured PC with broadband access and genuine software. With the availability of Microsoft FlexGo technology, it will be possible to expand the potential of the subscription model by enabling telecommunications providers to better secure the PC asset from default and offer this option to a broader range of customers. Telecommunications partners around the world have worked with Microsoft for more than a year conducting successful commercial offerings under this business model. Over the next few months, Microsoft will roll out subscription PCs with FlexGo technology with Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (VSNL) (