Microsoft's Plan For The Bottom Of The Pyramid: Rent To Own
from the pay-as-you-go dept
It appears that both Microsoft and Intel are a little freaked out by Nicholas Negroponte's $100 computer concept. Either that, or they just can't stop reading C. K. Prahalad's The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. A while back, Intel bashed the idea, which (aha!) included AMD chips, while Microsoft suggested a better idea would just be to use mobile phones (running Windows Mobile, of course) for the same purpose. Apparently that idea wasn't catching on enough, so Microsoft has cooked up a new plan: pay-as-you-go PCs. They're basing it on the success of prepaid mobile phone plans in emerging markets, and figuring they can do the same for PCs. In this case, you get the PC, but in order to use it, you need to keep "topping up" a prepaid card, or the PC defaults back to a very limited version. If you use it enough (read: pay enough), then the PC becomes yours. Of course, all this takes to destroy this plan is for a few smart hacker kids to figure out how to get around the limited version, and people will never need to pay again. Either that, or why not just wipe out the operating system and install Linux? That's what happened the last time (bubble era) someone came up with a plan to give away free PCs supported by forced advertising.