Microsoft to rent software at Net cafes

Microsoft plans to rent out its software by the hour

Software giant Microsoft announced that it will rent its Office 2000 software to customers on an hourly basis through the easyEverything chain of Internet cafes Monday.

This is the first time that Microsoft has allowed customers to rent software instead of buy it in a "shrink wrapped" box.

Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint will be rented to customers easyEverything for approximately £1 per hour.

In conjunction with the move, easyEverything plans to overhaul its Internet cafes in Europe and the US with Internet telephony and Web cams over coming months.

Microsoft, which dominates in the desktop software landscape with the Windows operating systems as well as its range of Office software, says that this will give customers the chance to test Office software before shelling out several hundred pounds on the full product.

EasyEverything, the brainchild of London-based entrepreneur Stelios Haji-Ioannou, has ten cafes across Europe and plans to have 22 open by the end of 2000. In the month of September the company says it had 1,250,000 visitors who stayed for an hour on average in Europe.

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