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FlexGo: Rent a computer from Microsoft

Prepaid calling computing comes to PC, courtesy Microsoft.

Though the cost of computers have come down in the recent years, they yet remain out of reach for people in developing nations like India, Mexico, Brazil or China. A majority of these people with modest incomes, who do not own a computer yet, are using the local cybercafe for all their computing needs.

Now taking a clue from the success of Internet cafes in developing world, Microsoft has launched a similar Pay-Per-Use Computing initiative called FlexGo - pay by the hour.

FlexGo will generally work like this: a user will pay for about half the cost of the computer upfront, and then will purchase pre-paid scratch cards to get hourly access to the computer at home. If the pre-paid card runs out and the user does not buy more hours, the computer stops working until the user buys another card.

The prepaid computer technology, called FlexGo, is basically a timer that monitors how long a consumer uses a computer. Users can pay by the hour to use a computer in their own homes.

From a business perspective, the market potential is large. More than 1 billion people worldwide earn enough to buy PCs under the FlexGo initiative, but not enough to buy one on their own.

The stripped down versions of Windows XP are not a success story. As developed markets become saturated, Microsoft is looking toward developing nations to make money from their Windows Software.

Microsoft FlexGo [Official Website] | FlexGo Technology | FlexGo Benefits

Read FlexGo analysis by SeattlePi | Pocket Lint | Mary Foley | CNN | ZDNet