Microsoft to push pay-as-you-go PCs

After repeated attempts by Intel and others to target the developing world with low-cost computers, Microsoft is now proposing a pay-as-you-go PC retail model to make computers more affordable to emerging markets. Under the company's scheme, which is dubbed "FlexGo," users will pay half the price of a PC up front and will then pay an hourly rate of $0.50-0.75 in order to use the machine. After a few hundred hours of use, the machine would be paid in full, and use fees would end. This model is supposed to target users in the developing world who want a full-featured PC but don't have sufficient income or access to credit. Intel's General Manager for the Emerging Markets Platform Group says people in Brazil already buy movie tickets on credit, but "the PC infrastructure is not that developed." Along with Brazil, Microsoft hopes to push the initiative in China, India, Mexico, and Russia.

Both Intel and AMD will help Microsoft deploy FlexGo in those markets, and the EE Times reports Infineon will build chips to enforce the scheme's payment system. FlexGo machines with Infineon chips will only show up in the second quarter of next year, however, whereas FlexGo trials have already taken place in Brazil. Microsoft plans to push FlexGo in the other four countries "in the coming months."

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