Feeds

Microsoft eyes metered-PC boondoggle

One dollar for an hour with Office

Boost IT visibility and business value

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. ®

Application security programs and practises

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
Big Blue Apple: IBM to sell iPads, iPhones to enterprises
iOS/2 gear loaded with apps for big biz ... uh oh BlackBerry
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.