I know I said I might well have bought my last laptop for the family but my wife’s 10 year old PC is spinning the last few thousand rotations of its hard drive and software is starting to malfunction. So she is getting our daughter’s 7 year old perfectly good machine and we are buying the final year 6th form girl a laptop.
The Tesco website has an Acer 5742 for £399. It has an Intel Core i3, a 750gig hard drive and 4 gigs of RAM. The crunch though is the copy of Microsoft Office 2010 home and business £204.22. She ain’t getting that.
It’s a graphic illustration that the money isn’t in the hardware but in the software. You do also have to wonder how long there is going to be cash in the software, especially when one of the problems we have on the 10 year old PC is finding the original CDs.
It is quite easy to think of moving to a Computing As A Service environment where we would pay a monthly fee to access home computing resources. It would have to be reasonably low cost because there are six of us in the family. We probably buy on average one new machine every 18 months to two years. If that works out as £400 a pop then the value is around £17 a month to cover all six of us. Call it £25 with software.
I would buy at that price, in perpetuity almost, though as the kids leave home we would need fewer seats. I doubt that I’ll have many vendors queuing at the door. They will almost certainly be expecting £25 per person in which case it doesn’t fly for us because that would obviously be £150 a month. That’s roughly the equivalent of 50 pints of beer!
It’s the shape of things to come though.
PS the daughter will have to live with open office or perhaps Google docs. Perfectly good. Also the shape of things to come.
PPS I doubt that we will spend 400 quid on a laptop either. There’s a bit of squeezing to be done on that price I’d say.