SEATTLE: Chip makers and PC firms aim to increase PC usage in the developing world with a new flexible payment program to lower the initial costs of buying a computer, the companies said on Sunday.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, said it is leading a group of technology companies in offering the first-ever “pay-as-you-go” computers in Brazil, India, Mexico, Russia and China over the next several months.

Using Microsoft’s FlexGo software technology, a customer can buy a computer loaded with the Windows operating system then purchase prepaid cards or pay a monthly subscription fee at a cost similar to using a computer at a local Internet cafe, Microsoft said.

When the usage time ticks down, a customer can go online or to a local retailer to buy more minutes.

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