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Microsoft hints at Windows rental – again

Consumers to get annual updates and annual fees...

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David Cole, Microsoft's VP for Web client and consumer experience (how embarrassing can you get in a job title, especially as he is dubbed the tele-evangelist internally), mostly demonstrated games and leisure activities at the WinHEC conference in Los Angeles. For example, he demonstrated how programming a video recorder could be made even more complicated by time shifting on a PC. Most people use a teenager, although the maintenance tends to be more expensive. Cole did, however, make one most revealing remark when he wasn't playing with the installation of Monster Truck Madness. On a slide, he called the DOS-based Win98-2K "Consumer Windows in 2000", which sounded as bad a name as his job title. He added: "So to meet sort of the consumer cycle, we want to be able to do a release every year, for the consumer, and which is a very retail market-driven kind of thing." Is this another clue that for Microsoft it's just one short step to the annual rental of Windows? That could be described as a Windows tax? There was once a windows tax in the UK, but it didn't last. People found a way around it: they bricked up surplus windows. Could the brand of bricks be Linux? ®

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