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Microsoft Files for Pay-As-You-Go Computing Patent

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 44 comments

Companies file patents for all kinds of crazy things, but it’s rare we see something that makes us stop and say to ourselves, “Really, that? Really?”

CNet reports that Microsoft has applied for a patent on pay-as-you-go computing in July of 2007. The application was published last Thursday; and so far Microsoft’s idea of a “metered, pay-as-you-go computing experience,” has left a lot of people bewildered.

Microsoft describes the patent idea briefly in its abstract and then at great length in the application but we’ll try and break it down and leave out the fluff. Basically you’re looking at a computer with scalable performance-level components, selectable software and service options. Users are charged in accordance with what they’re doing and the level of performance those tasks require. Browsing would be pretty cheap, gaming more expensive.

Some people have said this idea is pointless and others say it would be perfect for kiosks or libraries. However it looks like it might actually be the home user Microsoft is targeting after all. The Redmond company describes in the patent application that the current business model for computer hardware and software as an overall failing. Basically, “why buy a super powerful machine if you’re only going use it to its full potential a couple of times a week?”

“The current business model for computer hardware and software relies on a user purchasing a computer with hardware and software that is suited to the most demanding applications that the user expects to encounter. Therefore, a user may buy a multi-core processor with a significant amount of memory and advanced video support for gaming applications that are only used on the weekend, while the user's day-in, day-out activities may involve little more than word processing or web-browsing.”

It’ll be interesting to see what comes of this. Do you think PAYG computing could work in the home or are you of the opinion that anywhere outside of libraries or cafes, this concept is pointless? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • 5 Hide
    kamkal , December 30, 2008 4:37 PM

    stupid idea.

    buy stuff once, use as much as i want = good idea.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , December 30, 2008 5:01 PM
    Just another way to take more money from us for software that doesnt work right
  • 6 Hide
    zenmaster , December 30, 2008 5:08 PM
    I've never heard anything so stupid in my entire life.
  • 1 Hide
    Rahbot , December 30, 2008 5:14 PM
    WoW! How Dumb is this. I think it would work in Cyber Cafes and Libaray's, but in a Home or Office what are you thinking. Microsoft is really starting to seem like MicroCrap. Windows XP Great OS both 32 and 64bits, Windows Vista 32bit SUCKS, Windows Vista 64Bit Better than the 32bit but still sucks, Windows 7 just another Vista revamped to look good. Now pay as you go scheam, Like Duke Nukem would say "Blow it out yer Ass"
  • 4 Hide
    RangerX3X , December 30, 2008 5:35 PM
    This if implemented across the board would eliminate the hobby custom build PC world overnight. No one building their own system from scratch would pay as they go to use it. Absolutely rediculous. If the business model isn't working, then that is on them, not the consumer. A WOW FFS type OS...nice one you dolts.
  • 6 Hide
    ynotpcs , December 30, 2008 5:40 PM
    This is completely NUTZ!

    Microsoft needs to be stopped, now! They have gone and created an expensive monster of computing as it stands already, and now they aren't satisfied with their $$ billions of profit? Poor Poor Microsoft! AWWW!!!
    NOT!

    This will totally ruin the Custom PC concept, and kill a lot of ingenuity by edging out all the little shops that contribute so much. Where would the likes of Voodoo PC's, Alienware, Falcon NW, etc.. be if they had to put up with this back in there day?
    I'll tell you where, they'd have never left the garage of American ingenuity & entrepreneurship, that's where they'd be.

    Stop MS now, this is nutz!
  • 2 Hide
    Onus , December 30, 2008 5:53 PM
    Utterly mindless. How do they expect to scale a single machine from office apps on up to gaming? Are they going to provide smooth 60FPS+ high-res video over a broadband link? Yeah right.
    Most EULAs don't allow the kind of renting or sharing this kind of arrangement implies anyway.
    Come on, developers! Port all those great games to Linux! No more Microsquishy!
  • 1 Hide
    brendano257 , December 30, 2008 5:53 PM
    It makes no sense, you get a computer capable of gaming, but use it for browsing,and get charged less per month. Really now? I can browse, play games etc, and I don't pay any more than the first time. Maybe for a kiosk type thing at a cafe, but in the end Microsoft wants more money.

    Sounds to me like Xbox live: "You pay your ISP 40$ a month, then give us another $7 just to use it on your Xbox." No I'd rather use it on my PC *no extra charge*. Of course except for MMO's but that makes sense.
  • 3 Hide
    DXRick , December 30, 2008 5:59 PM
    This is an obvious attempt to take advantage of stupid people. The PAYG would likely cost the user MORE than the upfront cost of buying the hardware and software. They will just bury the cost in easy monthly payments???? Bah!
  • 3 Hide
    Hothr , December 30, 2008 6:06 PM
    Great, I'll put my new P.A.Y.G. computer that I PAID FOR right next to the Coin-OP Maytag washer in the kitchen (I empty the coins out each month and send them straight back to Maytag).
  • 1 Hide
    GoodBytes , December 30, 2008 6:10 PM
    Interesting... It might seam ridiculous at first, but back in the old days, that is in the same road of what IBM did. You (well businesses) pay per month to access certain time of day their storage server or use software. What is interesting, is that Microsoft among many other companies, where the companies that destroyed IBM and alike services, by offering the software/device as we know it now.

    Again this is just patents people. Knowing the great amount of ideas Microsoft registered, it is unlikely to occur.

    Beside this is not an idea that will work at all, I mean their is alternatives, different OS. If realized and being forced, than a market switch will occur, they are alternative to Microsoft.

    My guess, is if it does realize, it will be like many people that rent their water heater, or that thing form Lenovo some time ago 1$ per day (rent a computer (well we all saw how successful that was [/sarcasm])). Nothing more.
  • 0 Hide
    triddle , December 30, 2008 6:13 PM
    Although this model may be meant for the home user, I believe it is not intended for use on a system as we have them today. I would imagine that at some level, they envision a multi-use terminal in your home, with access to servers located some where else. You would pay to access programs and features on the SERVER level that would be streamed to your terminal at home. It would reduce the initial investment for most users, allAlthough this model may be meant for the home user, I believe it is not intended for use on a system as we have them today. I would imagine that at some level, they envision a multi-use terminal in your home, with access to servers located some where else. You would pay to access programs and features on the SERVER level that would be streamed to your terminal at home. Just as brendan0257 said, it sounds like content delivery similar to what xbox live allows. It would reduce the initial investment for most users, allowing a more complete package for people with basic or average computer skills and or usage, and even if we don't like the idea it may unify the average pc market to allow for broader application support and integration. As for now it is just a patent filing, and if you note, the filing states “The current business model for computer HARDWARE and software...". I would imagine in other countries, where computers are a true luxury, this would provide better access to people who would normally not have any. And the wide spectrum of their explination is simply used to illustrate a point. Don't get me wrong, I like mt custom PC as much as the rest of you, but I'd bet if you dug around in the patent coffers you'd find millions of shady patents held by even your favorite companies that make it sound like the world is gonna stop turning. It's just the way it is.a more complete package for people with basic or average computer skills and or usage. Just a thought
  • 0 Hide
    triddle , December 30, 2008 6:15 PM
    Please forgive the horrible post I just made. I can't see or preview the post sfor some unknown reason.
  • 0 Hide
    da bahstid , December 30, 2008 6:27 PM
    It'd be great if this were truly applied to everyone, most specifically large companies who have hundreds of terminals operating 24/7 and as it stands get abusively high value for what they pay.

    I think we all know that over time they'll get some special deal and average joes will still be paying too much for comparatively minimal usage. Only more so.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , December 30, 2008 6:38 PM
    This is not only nuts but it will harm competition. They are talking about building "metering" systems into the hardware they will provide very cheaply thereby further controlling any one's computing experience. It is being promulgated as another "cash cow" for Microsoft and will, according to all the analysis I have seen and Microsoft's own statements on the matter end up costing the user "MORE" than owning everything themselves.
  • 1 Hide
    Zorg , December 30, 2008 6:41 PM
    They want the revenue stream, I say pound sand you bloodsuckers.
  • 0 Hide
    Regected , December 30, 2008 6:44 PM
    This sounds like their model for cloud computing applied to a thin net type of application. It could never be used for most in home users, but for cafes and hotels and the like, this would be very useful.

    On the plus side, pushing this out would force more people onto Linux and increase the community's coverage.
  • 1 Hide
    ViPr , December 30, 2008 6:47 PM
    i think you are all misunderstanding this. what will happen is that all computers will be networked together into a giant supercomputer. when you are not using your computer much then scientists or whoever can run folding@home or other things on it more. i guess you can imagine it like this; it's like you will get paid for letting folding@home and other similar programs run on your computer for other people. i think it will overall lower our computer expenses. it will be like renting out your computer when you are not using it except without actually physically moving your computer and it will all be handled automatically so no hassle to us; it will just automatically scale the amount rented out depending on how much resources you are using at the particular time.

    i don't get why microsoft gets to patent this though. i thought supercomputers already generated revenue this way. all that is different is that a supercomputer is replaced with Personal Computers because PCs can be networked together into a virtual supercomputer and seti@home and folding@home have demonstrated that.
  • 0 Hide
    Master Exon , December 30, 2008 6:48 PM
    Triddle that sometimes happens to me, too.
  • 0 Hide
    ses27 , December 30, 2008 6:52 PM
    That's how Ross Parow made his billions back in the 70's
    So how can you patented it.
    It's been around for 30+ years
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