Pay-as-You-Go computing unveiled

Posted on Monday, May 22 2006 @ 15:50 CEST by Thomas De Maesschalck
Microsoft announced the industry’s first pay-as-you-go personal computing offerings powered by Microsoft FlexGo technology, enabling more-flexible Microsoft Windows-based PC purchasing options for customers in emerging markets. Customers can get a full featured Windows-enabled PC with low entry costs that they can access using prepaid cards or through a monthly subscription.

The pay-as-you-go business model makes PCs more accessible by dramatically reducing the entry cost and enabling customers to pay for their computer as they use it, through the purchase of prepaid cards. Market trials are starting first in emerging markets where inadequate access to consumer credit, unpredictable income and high entry costs prevent many consumers from purchasing a computer. The FlexGo technology supports Microsoft’s global commitment to help people realize their potential through the benefits of personal computers.

“Today there are already more than 1 billion prepaid mobile phones used around the world, so we know FlexGo enables a familiar and comfortable pay-as-you-go model that works for people with variable or unpredictable income,” said Will Poole, senior vice president of the Market Expansion Group at Microsoft. “Offering unprecedented flexibility of PC ownership will bring high-quality personal computers within the reach of hundreds of millions of families and small businesses in emerging markets so they too can enjoy the many benefits PCs bring in education, entertainment, communication and productivity.”

“Microsoft FlexGo will be revolutionary for us in the way we sell and finance PCs by making this new flexible pay-as-you-go model possible. Our lower-income customers are excited to finally buy their first PC with minimal upfront investment, paying for time as they need it, and owning a computer with superior features and genuine software,” said Frederico Trajano, sales and marketing director for Magazine Luiza. “Magazine Luiza is very pleased to be working with Microsoft to bring this to the people of Brazil.”

To make pay-as-you-go computing possible, Microsoft pioneered FlexGo technology, aligning hardware, software and service solutions to work in unison to meter and add time to the PC, so retailers, telecommunications providers, banks and OEMs can offer PCs to a broader community of customers. FlexGo technology enables consumers or small businesses to have a PC at a price they can afford, and pay for time only as they use it, an experience bringing the flexibility of an Internet cafe into the home. The technology informs users of time used, showing them how to add more hours by simply typing in a number from a prepaid card. If time is not added, the PC gradually moves into a “reserve tank” or limited-access state until customers purchase more time either online or at local vendors. The PC is owned outright after a set number of hours are purchased. Using FlexGo enables providers to reduce the entry costs of PC ownership by 50 percent or more, and to provide a flexible approach to paying for the remaining costs of the PC, company officials said.

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