Renting hardware on a subscription basis is bad for customers


Welcome to the latest Register Debate in which writers discuss technology topics, and you – the reader – choose the winning argument.

The format is simple: we propose a motion, the arguments for the motion will run this Monday and Wednesday, and the arguments against this Tuesday and Thursday.

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During the week you can cast your vote on which side you support using the poll embedded below, choosing whether you're in favour or against the motion. The final score will be announced on Friday, revealing whether the for or against argument was most popular. It's up to our writers to convince you to vote for their side.

This week's motion is: Renting hardware on a subscription basis is bad for customers

Call it leasing, equipment rental, or hardware as a service, the idea of NOT owning your computing devices has been around for years. But many individuals and corporations have been distinctly ambiguous about the idea, feeling that the benefits tend to flow to the suppliers, and most of all, the financers.

But the cloud means many organisations have gotten used to not owning all of the server infrastructure their businesses depend on. And the shift to remote working over the last year or two means many IT departments don’t even meet their users – let alone physically touch the client equipment they’re using. Lastly, sustainability and environmental concerns mean individuals and corporations are thinking harder about the broader costs of “owning” hardware. So, are hardware subscriptions the way forward?

This is the debate process

Phase One Phase Two Result
Phase 1

Read the opening arguments on Monday and Tuesday

Phase 2

Read the closing arguments on Wednesday and Thursday


Voting closes Thursday evening and the results announced on Friday