Feeds

Microsoft eyes metered-PC boondoggle

One dollar for an hour with Office

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?