Microsoft’s vision for the future: pay-per-use Windows, Office, IE, etc.

I quit using Microsoft’s software (most notably, the Windows operating system) on my computers¬† in 2002, and have purchased no new Microsoft hardware (keyboards, mice, game consoles, media players, etc) for my own use (actually, none at all, really) during those six years and change. Nothing makes me more glad I left Microsoft’s world than a recent patent application by Microsoft for pay-per-use software, as reported by CNet.

My personal favorite quote from the CNet article:

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.

Gee, you think? This is Microsoft we’re talking about here, not a company known for making it less expensive for the people at the end of the supply chain.

The free software fans won’t care for this one either:

Integral to Microsoft’s vision is a security module, embedded in the PC, that would effectively lock the PC to a certain supplier.

Translation: Forget just installing your favorite GNU variant or other free operating system in place of Microsoft Windows, Cash Vacuum Edition.

A close friend of mine once remarked one day we’d get a Windows bill the same way we get our electric bill, phone bill, cable TV bill, etc. For a long time I didn’t believe him.

If you’ve been thinking about making the move to free software, this is a good time to do it. Even if you don’t, when this patent is granted (let’s be realistic, this is Microsoft we’re talking about, it almost certainly will), be very leery of just walking into your favorite electronics store with the idea of erasing whatever version of Windows is on the PC before replacing it with what you want; you might wind up very unhappy with the results.

It’s your freedom, and your money. Help keep it that way; just say no to this sham.