Here’s a “why isn’t somebody doing this” business concept: a device subscription service wherein you no longer need to buy a PC and/or tablet but can pay a monthly subscription fee to have full use and possession of a computing device of your choice and configuration.
Think Netflix meets Dell: for fifty dollars a month or so, you get a membership that allows you to log on, choose a PC or Mac laptop and/or tablet, in one of several pre-loaded software or feature configurations, and it’s shipped to you for your use, as long as you want to use it. Plus, you get a cloud storage solution that allows you to back up your personal files. When you’re done with the machine, or want something new, just send it back (prepaid) and you’ll get another one. All you have to do is keep making payments and you’re always in the latest gear.
Of course, if you wanted to build a business like this, you’d have to work out the various terms and conditions. For instance, you’d want to hold customers liable for failing to return a device or failing to pay their subscription fee (at which point, you charge them for the device and freeze their storage account). You’d also need to validate the business model to make sure you can do it all profitably and effectively deliver on the value proposition of providing customers with the latest gear without them having to pony up the full purchase price in one lump sum to own it.
It would be great for students. Heck, for everyone. The company owns servicing the machine too, so if something fails naturally on it or it gets overrun with malware, the consumer just sends it back, gets a new one, and the company fixes and cleans up the old to put it back in circulation.
A successful business like this would disrupt the ugly low-margin PC sales industry that most consumers don’t care much for anyway. Plus, it would totally remove the maintenance problem that most consumers have never really enjoyed dealing with ever. As a service to humanity, it would be great to get a better solution going here.
If this service already exists, I’d love to hear about it. I couldn’t find it, so it must not be to national scale yet, or else I’m bad at finding things. Which is entirely possible. Either way, this one seems so obvious; I’m sure it’s occurred to others before.
Honestly, this is what Dell should try next, but they probably won’t, so if you got a big chunk of investment money burning a hole in your pocket …