Pay-As-You-Go PCs

If you can’t afford to buy a new computer, why not try a pay-as-you-go PC?  It sounds a bit weird, but Microsoft is hoping that this will take off and work in the same fashion as a prepaid mobile phones.

The computers were released today in Brazil, and are powered by FlexGo, a technology that lets users pay by the hour using cards bought from local vendors.

A consumer would pay roughly half the cost of a regular PC for a FlexGo powered PC, and from then on would purchase prepaid cards for hourly access to the computer.  When the card runs out, the computer stops working and you must buy a new card to use it again.

A computer that would normally cost $600 would cost $300 if it was powered by FlexGo, and would include 10 hours of usage time.  The prepaid cards will then need to be purchased to, in theory, pay off the rest of the cost of the computer.

Microsoft has not said how much more it would be to buy a FlexGo PC than a traditional PC.  Interest rates and financing models will vary by market.

FlexGo computers will be equipped with 80GB hard drive, 17 inch monitors, 512 megabytes memory, and a variety of processors.

Microsoft is working with Lenovo Group Ltd. and others to produce these new computers, and will be launching them within the next 90 days in several other countries, including: Mexico, China, Russia, and India.

Personally, I just think its another way for Microsoft to try to extract money out of every possible person they can.  With this new financing option, those with lower incomes may be able to get a PC for the first time.  The goal seems to be to get these emerging markets dependent on Microsoft, so that they won’t want to use other competing or even open-source products. 

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