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Microsoft Invents $1.15/Hour Homework Fee For Kids 580

Posted by timothy
from the defining-the-edge-of-invention dept.
theodp writes "Microsoft's vision of your computing future is on display in its just-published patent application for the Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience. The plan, as Microsoft explains it, involves charging students $1.15 an hour to do their homework, making an Office bundle available for $1/hour, and billing gamers $1.25 for each hour of fun. In addition to your PC, Microsoft also discloses plans to bring the chargeback scheme to your cellphone and automobile — GPS, satellite radio, backseat video entertainment system. 'Both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model,' concludes Microsoft, while conceding that 'the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced.' But don't worry kids, that's only if you do more than 52 hours of homework a year!"
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Microsoft Invents $1.15/Hour Homework Fee For Kids

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  • Wha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Xaemyl (88001) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:07PM (#26244045)

    You gotta be fucking kidding me ...

  • by djupedal (584558) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:08PM (#26244049)
    MS has announced they will not enter the online porn industry until they can determine a way to charge by the erection - film at eleven.

    Said S.Balmer "Things are lookin' up!"
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:09PM (#26244059)

    Am I the only one who finds it pretty funny that Microsoft's response to piracy of Office (which, I would guess, is most popular among students) markets their $60 version, repeatedly, as a "steal?"

    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:59PM (#26244465) Homepage Journal
      Am I the only one who finds it pretty funny that college students still use MS Office instead of OpenOffice? You'd think they'd enjoy the choice before they get stuck with Office 2007 at their first professional position.
      • by Enderandrew (866215) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [werdnaredne]> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:29PM (#26244713) Homepage Journal

        Just because someone is in college doesn't mean that they are in the know, and realize that choice even exists. The other thing is that Microsoft cleverly charges considerably less for "student" versions of their software, getting kids hooked early. A buddy of mine picked up a student copy of Office 2007 for $60, where as I think as a company we pay close to $400 per seat for a VLK.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael (484)

          You can get it for free if you enter the Microsoft Programming Challenge and complete the first tier. ne of their games development newsgroups was giving Visual Studio 2008 out for free.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by espiesp (1251084)

        Am I the only one who finds it pretty funny that college students still use MS Office instead of OpenOffice? You'd think they'd enjoy the choice before they get stuck with Office 2007 at their first professional position.

        Well, you know, some kids either

        A: Have realized that when compatibility with the outside world counts, especially with VBA, Microsoft Office Wins.
        B: That if you are going to have to know something for that professional position you might as well learn it now while you're at school. Unfortunately not everybody has the learning curve of a hardened Geek. To ask them to be masters of two different office suites is asking an awful lot.

        In any case, don't even get me started on Office 2007. That DOES kinda screw

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Well, my kid is a straight A student and has been using nothing but OpenOffice.org for the last 4 years. Can't say she has any problem with VBA, because I doubt if even a minute percentage of high school teachers even know what VBA is.

          Hell, in my company we have over 500 users, and I doubt if more than 10 of them use it. In my experience, the vast majority of users who think they need Office, not only don't really need it, they don't even really know how to use it, let alone be "masters" of it.

          I can't tell

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by X0563511 (793323)

          A: Have realized that when compatibility with the outside world counts, especially with VBA, Microsoft Office Wins.

          Hmm, that's funny. Around here were I work, we don't drink the Microsoft or Apple Kool-Aid.

          You realize that once you break that initial vendor lock-in, there is no 'compatibility with the outside world' that matters? Why stick with what the 'outside world' does, when what the 'outside world' does is wrong?

          Phrased another way:

          Why continue pounding square blocks through round holes, just because that's what everyone else continues to do? It's still wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by gregbot9000 (1293772)

          2007 is the interface the Devil uses. It seem I have to work some evil black magic just to get double space, and I'm certain I sold my soul trying to figure out how to paste unformatted plain text.

          I will not work with 2007. Thats not some obstinate statement, it's quite literal, I will not work. It's like trying to run 240v electronics on 120v.

          The thing that pisses me of mostly is they replaced the words with symbols. I know the word for "double space," I don't know what the symbol is! It's not like for

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fallingcow (213461)

        None of the professors used OpenOffice, but they usually didn't mind a PDF. file->export to PDF.

        Actually, some of them still used Word Perfect (IIRC, it may have been some other off-beat WP program), and this was just a couple years ago. Weird.

  • Consonant vowel consonant consonant off...

    I will never let my kid use any such service.

    • by drosboro (1046516) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:35PM (#26244269)

      Hmm. On the other hand, I just shelled out several hundred dollars for Adobe Illustrator, a program I need only for a few hours a year (but when I need it, I REALLY need it). If I had the option to pay an hourly rate OR purchase it outright, I'd have chosen the metering. Actually, a lot of apps are the same for me - including all of Microsoft Office. I use alternative word processors, spreadsheets, and presentation packages (or just do it in my text editor / LaTeX), but every now and then I do need to use Word or Excel.

      Again, given that there will be alternatives that are not metered, a pay-for-use model for some of these monolithic, massively-priced apps might not be a bad thing.

      • by Nikker (749551) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:46PM (#26244365)
        How about if your net connection goes down or the business model flops? Same thing as "Plays For Sure"? They close up shop and leave you high and dry? Maybe you need to format your computer and it comes back telling you to take a hike or you need to use it for a couple mins on your laptop but since it doesn't have the TPM chip it won't go? This will only work if everyone who uses it has some sort of "Trusted Computing" software / hardware combo and by agreeing to install that what else are you agreeing to?

        Just food for thought.
        • by qzak (1115661) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:38PM (#26244775)
          I just hope I dont forget to shut down or leave my computer on...overnight. Or over the weekend. This quickly adds up to the cost of just going out to buy the software today. I guess thats what they mean by 'the supplier can develop a revenue stream business that may actually have higher value than the one-time purchase model currently practiced.'
      • by Hadlock (143607) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:46PM (#26244369) Homepage Journal

        Kinkos charges about $0.42 a minute to use their computers that have MS office preinstalled. I don't own a printer, but the 3 times a year I actually need something printed (like christmas card notes, for example) that I can't get away with at work, I email to myself and print at Kinkos. Office depot will go one step further you can email them the document and they'll print it at no additional charge on whatever paper you need.
         
        /Printer free since 2000

  • New model? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:09PM (#26244065) Homepage

    'Both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model'

    Only Microsoft could try to call a business model 'new', when hotels and hookers have used it for centuries.

    At least its obvious what they are now

    • by FluffyWithTeeth (890188) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:56PM (#26244443)

      Well, at least it's a nice hotel.

    • Re:New model? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:03PM (#26244497) Homepage

      'Both users and suppliers benefit from this new business model'

      Only Microsoft could try to call a business model 'new'...

      That's the part of that business model that you have a problem with? That they're calling it "new"?

      The real problem in my mind is that really, it's either the user *or* the supplier that will benefit, but not both. Because the question is, will the user end up paying more when you calculate all the charges, or will they end up paying less? If they end up paying less, then the users benefit and the suppliers lose money. If they pay more, then the suppliers make more money but the users lose money.

      There are plenty of other problems with this model, but certainly it won't benefit both suppliers and users.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695)

      And they are the only one that can say the user benefits from a 'pay per use continual raping' scheme...

      Besides hotels, remember the entire premise of Microsoft in the beginning was based on was to avoid the 'timesharing charges and have your own computer'...

      The more things change, the more they stay the same.

      I guess they also have forgot the days of 'metered internet' and how it hardly used. More revenue stream was gained by dropping 'metering'. Lots more.

  • When I was a kid, we were assigned ~400 hours of homework a year. From what I hear, it's more now.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jonadab (583620)
      > When I was a kid, we were assigned ~400 hours of homework a year. From what I hear, it's more now.

      Well, there's what they're assigned, which varies by grade and teacher, and then there's what they actually do, which varies by student. I'm not convinced there's any correlation between the two.
    • by FluffyWithTeeth (890188) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:57PM (#26244449)

      I did far far less than 52 hours of homework a year.

      Thinking about it, there may be a reason I failed high school..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:10PM (#26244069)

    "Teacher I didn't get my assignment done. It was either buy food or rent MS Word for three hours, and I didn't want to starve."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonadab (583620)
      > It was either buy food or rent MS Word for three hours, and I didn't want to starve.

      With that line the teacher can offer you food, which leaves you with no excuse next time. What you want to say is, "We were all out of computer time, and we couldn't buy more until mom gets paid Friday." This one can be used every week (well, until the teacher hands you a Knoppix CD).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:12PM (#26244089)

    and billing gamers $1.25 for each hour of fun

    As long as they only bill you while you're actually having fun, I'd imagine that this would be a good deal for many of today's games.

  • Pretty Remarkable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra (782887) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:12PM (#26244091)

    They have some moxie, don't they?

    I guess this would be successful, but it pretty much guarantees that all of your customers will hate you, even as they pay you. So really, it's a horizontal move for Microsoft.

    As long as computing is as desperately cheap as it is, with $300 computers and free office suites, it's hard to see how they could make this work as a business model.

    • by PhreakOfTime (588141) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:31PM (#26244231) Homepage

      it's hard to see how they could make this work as a business model.

      I think your confusion come from applying your own reasoning to the world at large.

      But if I may give a reprieve to your doubts about the viability of this, may I suggest you introduce yourself to a few more CEO's. You may find their approach somewhat 'illogical'. But then again, just look around. Do you think the financial crisis we are facing now was based on 'logical' decisions by these same CEO's?

      To many in 'business', being free means cheap. There are people who honestly believe that simply by paying more for something, it means its 'better'.

      Money( a medium of exchange for items) and Wealth(the actual items or quality of services themselves that are deemed 'of value') are NOT the same thing, but there are many people who cant tell the difference.

  • Alright (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Renraku (518261) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:13PM (#26244099) Homepage

    What's in it for the consumer?

    Do you supply a top-of-the-line PC and internet connection for us gamers? It might be worth it then, provided we don't game too much.

    Do you supply a flexible, strong, compatible laptop for the school crowd? It might be worth it then, provided you don't provide incentives to universities or schools to dump more homework on the poor students.

    What about the in-car entertainment system? Cell phones?

    If I'm buying the equipment, I'm not going to pay monthly for something I currently get for free. The consumers, even the dumb ones, will be looking for alternatives. If no better alternatives exist, they'll be created.

    In short, I hope Microsoft does launch this nice program, hopefully with the backing of the law, and other absurd things so we can watch the anvil break the camel's back.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nine-times (778537)

      What's in it for the consumer?

      Since when does Microsoft care about that? The real issue is that Microsoft has discovered that they may be able to lock people into Windows and Office, but they can't force people to buy new versions. Their "customers" will just keep on using Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and then Microsoft only gets a cut when someone buys a new computer, if that. And then, even then, they have to cut the price of their software for the OEMs, and so they aren't making the sort of money they like.

      So what you continually

      • Re:Alright (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Dutch Gun (899105) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:22PM (#26245077)

        Since when does Microsoft care about that? The real issue is that Microsoft has discovered that they may be able to lock people into Windows and Office, but they can't force people to buy new versions. Their "customers" will just keep on using Windows 2000 and Windows XP, and then Microsoft only gets a cut when someone buys a new computer, if that. And then, even then, they have to cut the price of their software for the OEMs, and so they aren't making the sort of money they like.

        It would be suicide, nothing less. Customers resoundingly rejected this sort of system with DivX [wikipedia.org], and they'll do so again. People aren't completely opposed to subscriptions when they feel enough value is offered for the money [worldofwarcraft.com], though.

        In business, nothing is more attractive to a bottom line than subscriptions. Yearly guaranteed profits, nice and predictable. Nothing is scarier to a business than spending millions on a product that people may or may not want. But money is a better feedback mechanism for a business than almost anything else.

        Honestly, though, I just can't see them being quite that stupid, at least not in the foreseeable future. Just because subscriptions are a wet dream for the financial department doesn't mean marketing won't stick their finger in the wind to see if people would actually go for such a scheme. People have been predicting this sort of stuff for years, and it never happens. It works at the large-scale enterprise level (it's probably advantageous there, since it's a known and regular expense), but it would be disastrous at any smaller scale.

        Still, it would be fun to see them try.

    • Re:Alright (Score:4, Interesting)

      by sam_handelman (519767) <skh2003@[ ]umbia.edu ['col' in gap]> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:31PM (#26244733) Homepage Journal

      Of course consumers will benefit! Microsoft has just announced the first truly-effective open-source promotion policy in the history of the american computing industry. We should be saluting this, but instead, the microsoft bashers on slashdot are reflexively criticizing them.

        "Seriously": Consumers will benefit because they will pay proportional to their actual use, which more efficiently distributes the costs. Thus, those who can afford to pay more will do so, and those who can't won't, which is always good if you are a bizarro-world inverse-marxist ideologue, a.k.a. "free market theorist."

        Oh, also, higher profits for microsoft will drive them to innovate.

        This is the same reason that coupons are good for the economy - those with enough money don't bother and just pay the higher prices. The time and energy people spend clipping coupons has zero cost - likewise, artificially restricting computer use by introducing significant marginal costs is a zero loss to the economy if you are a corporate tool.

        The fact that there are economists who actually believe crap like the above tells you that economics really is the dismal science.

    • Re:Alright (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:47PM (#26244851)

      In short, I hope Microsoft does launch this nice program, hopefully with the backing of the law, and other absurd things so we can watch the anvil break the camel's back.

      There have been many times in my life when I've said this same sort of thing about decisions I've seen others make. I believe I've seen people say similar things on Slashdot about other decisions Microsoft has made in the last decade. So far, opportunities to say "See! I told you so," have been sparse.

      The thing is that the universe appears to be fairly forgiving to makers of decisions we think are dumb. Microsoft is still around, and people are still handing them piles of cash every year, despite all the predictions of doom.

      I think that if Microsoft succeeds with this pay-as-you-go program, it will be because there are more ignorant people out there than we suspect.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eskarel (565631)
      Well, it really sort of depends.

      If they offer this subscription model instead of the current boxed model, and they offer it at the prices currently being suggested, then the only thing in it for the consumer is the grief of switching to a new office suite. Consumers simply will not pay that kind of pricing if they are heavy users of said products, even at the ludicrous prices Microsoft charges for the full versions of Office Professional(which is more than most people need), even a user who upgraded with ev

  • Luckily for me, my old manual typewriter costs only as much as the ink and paper I put in it. :)

  • by djupedal (584558) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:18PM (#26244131)
    "The plan, as Microsoft explains it, involves charging students $1.15 an hour to do their homework, making an Office bundle available for $1/hour, and billing gamers $1.25 for each hour of fun. In addition to your PC, Microsoft also discloses plans to bring the chargeback scheme to your cellphone and automobile..."

    And ads - don't forget ads...lots and lots and lots of ads.

    Seriously, when is MS going to get off the same old profit-stump? Is there no one inside that company that can imagine fresh ways to make money besides licensing? Will MS ever come out of the ice age they fostered and find something to sell that the world actually looks forward to paying for?

    Despite what MS would wish, software isn't a utility product that spins a meter at the sidewalk. It isn't a consumable that requires a refill after every trip to the coast. It isn't a treat that changes flavor every month according to some designer whim.

    Software is part of a process. A process that can be solved by many means and anyone willing to devote the time. It doesn't come out of a strip mine in the Congo...market it according to the market, not to your desire to fill coffers and it will make money - I promise.
  • According to the picture at Flickr, you need these days that kind of hardware just to do your homework!

    How did our parents (err... how did I?) ever manage to pass school?

    • by thermian (1267986) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:28PM (#26244207)

      My kid has been told many times just to copy and paste from Wikipedia, I mean told by his teachers. Its most distressing.

      I have brought the issue up at his school in meetings, but it seems that the tickbox teaching that the UK now relies upon is more interested in achieving teaching goals then actually educating the pupils.

      Given that his IT class seems to really be 'how to use Microsoft products', I wouldn't be surprised if this service became part of the UK education provision system. Angry and disgusted yes, surprised no.

      Lastly, dude, having a sig that would nuke a Linux system if applied isn't exactly friendly. On the other hand, I guess it would conform to the natural selection approach to weeding out morons, so perhaps its ok...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by TheoMurpse (729043)

        :(){ :|:&};:

        having a sig that would nuke a Linux system

        I always thought it was a totem-pole-of-ducks emoticon...

  • by elashish14 (1302231) <profcalc4@@@gmail...com> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:22PM (#26244163)

    and billing gamers $1.25 for each hour of fun

    Can we get a refund for a game if we play said without having said fun?

  • ...fuck that.
  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:24PM (#26244177)

    The user jacks his credit card into our system.
    We store user input.
    We process user input.
    We output processed data back to the user.
    We suck money out of the user's credit card account.

    Behold the cloud!

  • you managed to make free software alternative to your products to look even more affordable.

    Could be debatable if that i.e. OpenOffice/Google Docs features match MSOffice ones, even taking in account what you actually use of them. But you will use the next hour some of the features you think are missing? The hour after it? You could save big bucks before hitting a moment where you need something extra, and maybe in that time you will realize that you don't need them anyway.
  • by dirk (87083) <dirk@one.net> on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:26PM (#26244187) Homepage

    If this is going to be the only option, then it's crappy and destined to fail. But if this is going to be an additional option to purchasing Office (which I think is more the case) it may still fail, but is at least a decent idea. Most students use Office only for homework that requires it. If that is the only time you use it, what makes more sense, paying $200 for the full Office suite that you will rarely use (and definitely won't use half the programs) or paying $50 for the 50 hours you actually use it(which is probably being generous in the time students actually use Office)? And factor in that if you have an older computer, Office may run slowly versus this online version which (if done properly) should run smooth as long as you have good internet access.

    If this is an additional choice, I think this may be a decent idea (though I don't think it will be a hit).

    • by Renraku (518261) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:39PM (#26244303) Homepage

      How about using say..Wordpad? It comes with Windows, so its not an additional expense. Has decent features and is very usable. Also you don't have to re-learn it every year.

      Or Open Office, perhaps?

      Hell, even notepad.

      I've never purchased a copy of MS Office and I don't use it at home. I use Open Office at home, and MS Office on the computers at school and work.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gordguide (307383)

      " ... or paying $50 for the 50 hours you actually use it (which is probably being generous in the time students actually use Office)? ..."

      Well, I beg to differ. Not that students use Office Software more than you believe; they may or they may not. I'm referring to HOW students use Office Software. Put simply, they dawdle. The IM is open, there is texting to cellphones (via the PC, the cellphone, or both), there is music playing on the PC, there is a whole lot of stuff going on that is not really homework so

  • by Plazmid (1132467) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:28PM (#26244201)
    What's to prevent me from hacking the software/hardware to liberate it? Of course that is if I even buy one in the first place.
  • free for kids (Score:5, Interesting)

    by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:40PM (#26244315)
    my kids get free "hand me down" PCs & printer with Linux & OpenOffice pre-installed to do homework on, (no subscription necessary)
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:41PM (#26244325)

    Microsoft is already offering MS Office Ultimate for a one-time cost of $60. Why in the hell would I want to rent the same damn thing per hour and turn it into a $2000+ piece of software?

    I don't get it. Every time I turn around, Microsoft seems to be trying to take one step forward...into another pile of shit idea.

    If this doesn't send their users screaming towards (free) alternatives like Google Docs, I don't know what will...

    Pardon me will I go don my Ballmer signature-series chairproof helmet...

  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @05:43PM (#26244341)
    Computing 101
    Assignment #1
    Locate, download, and install Open Office.
  • by Vellmont (569020) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:04PM (#26244511)

    This whole summary is a troll. Technology businesses file many patents every year that they'll never implement. Patents are like munitions. You stockpile them in case you need to go to war, and to prevent others from attacking you. Balmer's saber rattling about Linux infringing on multiple Microsoft patents is the perfect example of this. (Though it's an example of the more sinister uses of patents).

  • by awitod (453754) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @06:57PM (#26244915)

    The historical stupidity of the USPTO not withstanding, I'd guess that this application as written is DOA.

    I'm sure there is other prior art out there, but having just read the application, it sounds almost exactly like Amazon EC2. You buy different computing configurations (hardware and software) from a menu of choices and then get charged a metered rate based on your choice. The only difference I see here is that this application has you pay up front and then draw down the time instead of paying as you go. That isn't a novel difference.

  • by awitod (453754) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:11PM (#26244989)

    What an awful summary!

    The $/hour numbers and the homework example in the patent application are both simply illustrations. What the application is about is a method of creating, provisioning, and metering, and charging for a bundled unit of specific functionality within a cloud infrastructure. As I said in a previous post, I think they are too similar to EC2.

    On the other hand, this sort of thing is a key enabler to any sort of broad SaaS infrastructure and people will use these services if the price is right. I just move several sites onto EC2 at a rate of ~$0.13/hr. For around $1100 a year I get a good infrastructure for less than what the server with no software and no connectivity would cost and I can make it bigger or turn it off whenever I want. Near as I can tell, the difference here is that instead of buying the power as a configured server instance, you are buying a configured service instance. This is a subtle, but important, difference. (But to my mind not a novel one).

    So assuming they have some implementation to back up the patent application, I'm glad Microsoft is working on this because it's a necessary part of the infrastructure.

  • by nurb432 (527695) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @07:45PM (#26245203) Homepage Journal

    Yet another reason to protest and refuse when a school mandates a particular application for 'home work' ( unless its a class about that particular package of course ).

    A word processor to write a term paper is not just 'Microsoft Word'.

  • by FilterMapReduce (1296509) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:17PM (#26245369)

    I am among many open-source supporters who think Richard Stallman is generally too far out on the fringe, but I think the opinions illustrated in his sci-fi story "The Right to Read" [gnu.org] are a pretty dead-on assessment of what is going on here. Basically this is what happens when software vendors are confronted with the uncomfortable truth that software is not a tangible good and can't really be sold or rented out for a unit price, no matter how profitable it may be, and they redouble their efforts to force that business model into existence, to hell with the consumers.

    If you use Microsoft Office, do yourself a favor and switch to OpenOffice as soon as possible. The sooner you do it, the fewer of your files you'll need to convert/jailbreak some day. (Plus you might help to stave off some big dystopian-future scenario, which is nice.)

  • by wikinerd (809585) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @08:59PM (#26245659) Journal
    I really want them to implement this business model, because it would be a great push for greater GNU [gnu.org]/Linux [kernel.org] adoption.
  • it is true (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PermanentMarker (916408) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:25PM (#26245811) Homepage Journal
    So its confirmed now the marketing guys from vista has lost their minds. No customer will accept this, luckely by the time it will be ready linux will be grown up. I think later or soon, the monopoly breaks downs the tree is starting to fall. Any empire ends, and i think this could be just the reason fir it.
  • Dead idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaMattster (977781) on Saturday December 27, 2008 @09:44PM (#26245909)
    Gee, I thought services like these were dead ideas. Remember the AOL days when you had to pay per minute usage fees? These days are no more. Microsoft really doesn't have a patent on this. When it comes to computing, metered services have been pretty much thrown out the door.
  • by mgiuca (1040724) on Sunday December 28, 2008 @02:11AM (#26247165)

    Having users pay per hour is ridiculous. Nobody will stand for it. A flat monthly fee will be far more effective.

    I'm not sure how it worked in other countries, but in Australia, our ISPs used to bill per hour. It was horrible. You would log on, and then feel this immense pressure to go to all the sites you had to go to as quickly as possible. Then in the early 2000s they all started charging a flat monthly fee (with a capped data rate) instead. Immediately the "product experience" changes.

    Whether you're paying the same amount or not, it's a far better experience. You can just leave the Internet switched on all day and use it leisurely.

    If they bill per-hour for MS Word, it will be the same degraded experience. You'll be in a rush to do your work. Every minute you spend in another window will feel like a minute wasted. You'll hurriedly close down all your documents if you have a coffee break.

    There's no way out of this - charging per-hour for software equates to a horrible user experience. Nobody's going to switch to this from the current model.

Old programmers never die, they just become managers.

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