Sometime toward the end of 2010, I donít remember exactly when, I was chatting with a few Microsoft employees in one of the companyís headquarters, and I remember saying what a great idea it would be if customers could rent Windows 7 computers instead of buying them.
Everybody around the table agreed that the concept could work for both end users and businesses. Granted, the employees I talked with werenít top company executives, but I donít doubt even for a second that subscription Windows machines have been at least considered by the software giantís top dogs.
Meanwhile, Google will start selling the first subscription based Chromebooks in approximately a month.
For business customers the Mountain View-based search giant will offer netbooks powered by Chrome OS at $28 per month, including a web-based management console, support, and the guarantee that the hardware will be replaced at the end of the refresh cycle, some odd there years.
Considering the explosion of the IT-as-a-service trend the move makes perfect sense. What doesnít make sense is Microsoft not even piloting such a business model for its volume customers, especially since it could simply expand Software Assurance licenses to also include hardware, as an added benefit.
As far as Iím concerned, thereís another of Googleís moves that the Redmond company should ďuse as inspiration,Ē namely branded form factors.