This week is a busy one... we have our annual conference on customer and partner satisfaction, as well as the much more press-followed WinHEC. Just ahead of both, we announced FlexGo, "an innovative technology that makes it easier for people with modest incomes in emerging markets to buy a full-featured PC for their families." It allows people in these markets to pay by the hour to use a computer in their own homes, similar to the payment plans we see in many countries with pre-paid mobile phone cards.
More info is available at http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/flexgo/default.mspx.
This coverage from BusinessWeek...
"The program will generally work like this: a user will pay for about half the cost of the computer upfront, and then will purchase pre-paid cards to get hourly access to the computer at home. If the pre-paid card runs out and the user doesn't buy more hours, the computer stops working until the user buys another card."
It's exciting to see the product come to the market: the group developing it is top-notch.
Also see this story at CNNMoney.com:
"The pay-as-you-go model lowers the initial costs of buying a PC by 50 percent or more and the consumer owns the PC after a set amount of minutes are purchased, the companies said.
"Microsoft and its partners recently completed its first trial in Brazil and they plan to do a next round of trials in Brazil, China, Hungary, India, Mexico, Russia, Slovenia and Vietnam, according to Microsoft."