Feeds

Microsoft eyes metered-PC boondoggle

One dollar for an hour with Office

High performance access to file storage

Microsoft hopes to charge you for PC hardware and software in much the same way wireless carriers charge you for text messages.

As detailed in a patent application recently unveiled by the US Patent and Trademark Office, Redmond seeks exclusive rights to a "Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience." This would involve saddling PC users with a machine whose components can only be used if you fork over more cash.

Filed in July 2007, the would-be patent describes a computer with "individually metered hardware and software components that a user can select and activate based on current need." And each of these items would have a cost associated with it.

"Beyond simple activation, the user may be able to select a level of performance related to processor, memory, graphics power, etc. that is driven not by a lifetime maximum requirement, but rather by the need of the moment," Microsoft's shameless patent application continues.

"When the need is browsing, a low level of performance may be used and when network-based interactive gaming is the need of the moment, the highest available performance may be made available to the user."

For example, Redmond says, use of Microsoft Office might cost you a dollar an hour, whereas an hour of gaming might be $1.25. An hour of browsing? 80 cents.

With today's PC business model, Microsoft explains, manufacturers and resellers get "more or less a one chance at the consumer kind of mentality." Corporate "elasticity curves are based on the pressure to maximize profits on a one-time sale."

But with Redmond's pay-as-you-go model, manufacturers and resellers can tap your wallet around the clock until the end of time. "Because hardware yields and software duplication costs allow very low cost on the margin of increased performance, manufacturers and software developers may see an overall increase in revenues when their product is available to users on a per-access or subscription basis that reflects actual consumption," Redmond burbles.

"Certainly the overall technology experience is that when given an opportunity to have increased capability, users migrate to it. Thus, users get the performance they want and sellers get incremental sales from a greatly-expanded user base that would have never considered a one-time purchase of a fairly exotic-looking and high-price hardware or software component."

As Information Week points out, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and oh so many others are already pushing a pay-as-you-go model on the server side of things. They insist on calling it cloud computing. But server infrastructure is expensive. PC hardware and software are not. ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Inside the Hekaton: SQL Server 2014's database engine deconstructed
Nadella's database sqares the circle of cheap memory vs speed
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.