Dana Blankenhorn finds the cost of software (Windows and Office for USD 546) greater than the cost of the hardware (USD 484). He writes: “Still, what if a PC didn’t run Office? What if it just ran, say, the Windows kernel, with a new class of hardware-based applications running on top of it? Then your home might, in fact, have 10 or 20 or more PCs inside it, networked, running the heat and the lights and the security and who-knows-what, with maybe one copy of XP and one of Office, as part of a central control. Perhaps this $600 in software might be rented, made a part of your online bill, just like the services that need attachment to the greater Internet on those other 10-20 PCs? The point is there are ways this can work. There are ways out of the box. First one to find them wins the future.”
Dana’s computer will cost him over USD 1,000. I see a world of thin clients (cheap USD 100 -150) devices, with all the software (Linux, OpenOffice, Firefox…) running on the server. This is the only way to bring down the total cost of ownership for the next billion of users. Adding a USD 50 fractional cost of server and USD 100 for software takes the cost to USD 300 (still 70% cheaper, with almost zero-maintenance). This is the next-generating IT infrastructure.