Is Microsoft Planning for Subscription PC Model In Future

Microsoft applied for patent for a business model to sell PC the way mobile phone is being sold as per the recent report of patent filing. The standardized model of pc will be sold as subsidized by somebody in the supply chain. The end users are going to pay as per usage time and the performance levels utilized, along with a “one-time charge”.  As per Microsoft, the end user may have to pay more  compared to the existing PC business model.

“The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed,” the patent says.

With this proposed model, user may be able to select a level of performance related to processor, memory, graphics power. A low level performance may be required for just browsing. For network based gaming, the level of performance may be required the highest.

The performance level is expected to be categorized in three sections, office, gaming, and browsing.

As per the document, the office bundle may contain word-processing and spreadsheet applications, medium graphics performance and two of three processor cores. The gaming bundle may include no productivity applications but may include 3D graphics support and three of three processor cores. The browsing bundle may have no productivity applications, medium graphics performance and high-speed network interface.

The office bundle may be $1.00 [68 pence] per hour, the gaming bundle may be $1.25 per hour and the browsing bundle may be $0.80 per hour. The usage charges may be charged to ‘units/hour’ to make currency conversions simpler.

Microsoft’s patent application does acknowledge that a per-use model of computing would probably increase the cost of ownership over the PC’s lifetime. The company argues in its application, however, that the payments can be deferred and the user can extend the useful life of the computer beyond that of the one-time purchase machine.

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