Microsoft Patents Potential Pay-Per-Feature PC, Please

Posted ago by Daniel Shain by Daniel Shain in Microsoft Laptops

We’ve caught wind that Microsoft has patented a system which will allow users to purchase a computer with only the functionality they need, with the option of paying an hourly fee to “unlock” advanced capabilities at their discretion.

Netbook sellers have already followed the path of cell phones, offering themselves with significant subsidies as long as you agree to a monthly plan. And many of you might remember the days when the regular old wired internet was still fresh, and PCs were similarly subsidized and then paired with commitments to ISPs. Now it looks like Microsoft is trying to do something similar, but with performance as the selling point rather than the internet.

As evidenced in the picture above, you can decide what kind of processor power and storage space you need along with various software packages. Depending on what you need, you will be charged an hourly fee. It looks like you can at least check your mail for free though. To prevent any of you sly foxes out there from simply going around the protective software and trying to unlock features for free, the computers will all be shipped with [presumably complex] security modules.

Don’t expect to see this in production anytime soon as it is only a Microsoft patent application. But perhaps sooner than you think, you’ll be able to rent software for 48 hours for the same price as it used to cost to buy it. We can’t wait.