A Change in Software Pricing Model

OS X Mavericks

Apple announced on the 22nd of October that Mavericks would be available for free to the masses and the whole iLife and iWorks suite would be free as well with the purchase of new Macs. Here I am typing this post on my old Macbook Pro 2008 version and after recently just moved over to Mountain Lion which paid USD$19.90 for the operating system, I was pleasantly surprised to upgrade to Mavericks for free.

It took a whole day for my Mac to download the entire update file, well to be honest, I just left it downloading just before I left for work. By the time I arrived home, it was ready to be installed and after just clicking on a few buttons, I have a 5-year-old laptop running on Mavericks. Usually with new operating systems upgrade, especially with my experience with iOS, an upgrade meant that there is a chance my hardware would have to work even harder to perform the most basic of tasks (screams my iPad Mini running on iOS 7).

This time, I am also surprised that Mavericks ran quite smoothly on my Macbook Pro. The new OS is supposed to improve on battery life, I have yet to test that out.

Now, another point I also would like to make was that Apple also included a free upgrade for everyone to the latest version of iLife and iWorks. This included those who have purchased the software through the legal and also illegal way. Apple’s thoughts about it? They said, they do know that their software has been pirated but they are ok with it and hopes that people would definitely not pirate their products.

This brings this whole article to its main point, with Apple starting to provide free operating system upgrades (such with iOS as well) and software as well, how will it affect the rest of the players? Will we see Microsoft providing cheaper Windows in the future or even perhaps a free version for consumers? Honestly, I have always preferred OS X primarily because the upgrades affordable compared to Windows which costs a few hundred ringgit.

This does bring a whole new way of working, and when I mean working, I mean small businesses who want to save costs on IT may start looking at alternative to the PC. Yes, a PC laptop may cost perhaps a thousand ringgit cheaper compared to a Macbook Air 13″ but after including the costs of an office suite licenses and other bits and pieces, the overall costs may be quite similar especially in the long run.

windows-8.1-blue-release-date
Windows 8.1 is free for all Windows 8 users

To be fair, I prefer working with Microsoft Office as I am just so exposed to that piece of software at work and previously back when I was in University. I am hoping that this trend would push Microsoft to be as “creative” with their pricing solutions in the future. Also another key point to note is that OS X only works on Mac hardware (forget the clones or the Hackintoshes), so essentially, Apple sells hardware which comes with the operating system. This is very different from Microsoft who focuses on the operating system side of things to work with other hardware.

Also to note, Windows still dominate the desktop market and Apple has seen declining sales in their desktops and laptops citing shift of sales to their tablets instead. Windows 8.1 is also FREE to Windows 8 users as well.

Here are some other thoughts about the subject in the world-wide web as well.