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Microsoft taps Infineon for pay-as-you-go computing

LONDON — German chipmaker Infineon Technologies AG has agreed to make integrated circuits to enforce security for payment and subscription within a Microsoft Corp. scheme for pay-as-you-go computing called FlexGo.

Microsoft’s FlexGo is expected to offer a different business model to the traditional one for individuals and families in emerging-market economies, Infineon said. Conventionally private users buy a computer outright and buy licenses to use relevant software at a combined cost of several hundred dollars.

Microsoft and Intel were expected to disclose Monday (May 22) a trial with several thousand consumers in Brazil of a program that lets people buy a PC at retail for about half its usual cost and then pay off the balance through hourly usage fees. The goal of the program is to expand the PC market in countries where many consumers have low incomes and difficult access to credit. Microsoft has run an initial trial in Brazil for the past year, and plans to expand the program to China, India, Mexico, and Russia in the coming months.

FlexGo systems with Infineon security chips onboard are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2007, Infineon said.

No details of the design collaboration and supply agreement, either technical or financial, were disclosed.

“Working with Microsoft on Microsoft FlexGo is a natural evolution of our strategic relationship,” said Peter Bauer, head of Automotive, Industrial and Multimarket business group at Infineon Technologies, in a statement.