Microsoft tests "pay-as-you-go" Software

Microsoft has been quietly testing a new "pay-as-you-go" software rental service in South Africa, Mexico and Romania. The service allows users to pay a monthly fee of around $15 for the use of Office 2003 – according to Microsoft, the program offers customers "the opportunity to obtain genuine Microsoft Office 2003 at a low upfront price, along with the flexibility to pay over time and renew when they choose." Still, Microsoft is being careful to emphasize that the Office 2003 rental program is merely a trial to judge public reaction. According to the spokesperson, Microsoft is currently "reviewing feedback from the trial in order to determine whether to extend it" and said it is "too early to speculate" about exactly what form this will take.

Last year, the software giant started a project called FlexGo, where customers purchased a whole computer preloaded with Windows XP and other Microsoft software for a discount price, then used prepaid cards to continue using the PC. The program met with some success when it was first tried in Brazil: 31% said they would not have made the purchased at all had the program not been available. Microsoft's Software Assurance program, where users pay a yearly fee in order to always get the most up-to-date version of Microsoft products, could also be considered a software rental program. The traditional model of software sales is unlikely to disappear, but I wouldn't be surprised if more options, including "renting" software, become available internationally. Either way, Microsoft's rental program may very easily turn out to be a success in countries where, because of poverty contrasting with high software prices, piracy is currently the only option.

News source: Ars Technica

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

It's Official: ATI's R600 Delayed

Next Story

Phishing attack targets PartyPoker

18 Comments

Hmm, I remember them trying something like this when office xp came out. I worked at best buy at the time, and if we went to an info thing on it, we got it free...that time was what they said the first time they were doing subscription based release trial on us, where it was a key that lasted a year, and after that we would have to purchase another year, or if we went to another event before the year was up, we would get a free extension

who would do that?
itd end up costing you more in the end anyway.....
my prepaid cell phone costs enough...
now a prepaid computer system?
thats just stupid.

There's still a lot of cultures out there who's lives don't revolve around the computer like in western cultures. Try thinking outside of your own little world every once in a while.

Zoue said,
There's still a lot of cultures out there who's lives don't revolve around the computer like in western cultures. Try thinking outside of your own little world every once in a while.

Two thirds of people never develop abstract thinking (Dasen, 1994).

Exactly. I used to use Microsoft Office 2003, but the key I found doesn't work anymore, and I can't afford a copy of it. At the moment, I'm using Openoffice, which isn't bad, but I can't really get used to it. It doesn't have an email program, so I have to use Mozilla Thunderbird as well (so I can't minimize it to the taskbar, so it sometimes gets in my way).

In all honesty, I wouldn't mind paying $25 a month for Windows and Office if it means I would always have the newest version out there and if they offered better technical support than they offer now. If that were the case, I would consider paying in this fashion.

It can be dangerous for a company (especially little ones) in such country to rent their tools with automatic deactivation when they don't pay.

What if you have a difficult month and need to edit an invoice with MS office but you can't because you can't pay MS ?

With less and less time and stock, a little glitch can be difficult for new company.

As far as I'm concerned this is a step backwards to the days of paying for timesharing of a computer. When you used what was called a Smart Terminal.

Personally I would never do this because I want to buy a license for my software that I can hold onto as long as I want.

But I can see where this could be a more attractive option. Organizations really don't need to hold onto old copies of Office and eventually will upgrade so why not just subscribe and automatically get the newest technologies as they become available? Besides, for organizaitons that are on top of things (that is, they upgrade regularly) its cheaper to subscibe to a service like this then to pay full price up front for each copy and each version as they become available.

I don't see why Microsoft can't just offer it both ways and let individuals and corporations choose for themselves which way they like best.

Do you own the software or PC after you have rented it for a bigger amount of time (a year or two), or do you always have to keep paying? In the latter case, it would be clearly more expensive over time than buying it right away.

So in the future I've got to pay lights, electric, trash and lets say 20 a month for a bare Windows OS. And then there's software. 15 bucks for this and that adds up, before you know it you're paying 150-200 a month for programs.

I just don't see something like that working out, not for me anyway. I'd have to start looking toward free software, that's an option.

I think its a good idea only if after all the monthly fees you paid equals the purchase amount of the software, which then you own the software just like you paid full price when it came out. This would be kind of a installment payment system for those who can't pay full price upfront.

Commenting is disabled on this article.