The UK Government’s Home Computing Initiative will cease to provide tax subsidies to companies renting out computers to employees for their personal computer needs. The HCI Alliance, funded by Microsoft, British Telecom and Intel, set up a scheme whereby about 1,250 companies rented personal computers to their employees at pre-tax monthly fees. At the current rate of availment, the government is said to expect a loss of £300 from tax revenues.
While the HCI Alliance did not give any comment on the abrupt abandonment of the scheme, it is likely that the declining prices of computers and software would render the scheme obsolete. Computers are becoming so cheap that people would rather purchase them outright, at slightly worse terms than with HCI—but they get to keep the computers!
One issue with the HCI was who benefited with the scheme. In this regard, it was speculated that only the hardware and software providers really benefited, as the government loses tax money, the companies only break even with their purchase and renting out of computers, and users don’t get to own the equipment.