Apple has a brilliant new strategy—it's giving away its flagship software for free. “Free is good”, said Craig Federighi, the senior VP for software engineering at Apple. Apple made lots of announcements during yesterday's huge Apple media event in San Francisco, but by far, the most surprising, was Apple's strategy of focusing on free software, according to a Oct 23 report in c/net.
In retrospect, it shouldn't have been surprising at all because Apple had announced last month it was dropping the price to free for its marquee productivity and creativity suites, “iWork” and “iLife”. These suites carry “Pages”, “Numbers”, “Keynote”, “iMovie”, “iPhoto” and “GarageBand”. And since the birth of the iPhone, Apple has been giving away free updates to iOS (the operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) every year.
So, it was as logical—as it was surprising--that Apple is now giving away “Mavericks”, the new update to Apple's OSX operating system for Macs. “Mavericks” is available for free for all Apple computers sold as far back as 2007.
“Mavericks”, which is named after a popular California surfing spot, has lots of new features (like “iCloud Keychain”), huge improvements to increase battery life and memory, and further iOS integration. For example, “iBooks” and “Apple Maps” now come to “Mavericks”.
Part of Apple's strategy is that it want “Mavericks” to run on as many Macs as possible. Obviously, Apple hopes that users will adopt “Mavericks” with the same eagerness that they displayed when they downloaded iOS 7. Sixty-four percent of users have downloaded iOS 7 less than one month after its launch.
More users adopting the newest operating system translates into more users using the newest apps, which, in turn, means more downloads from the App Store and a better customer experience. This ability to deliver software and services allows Apple to pursue a strategy of staying engaged with customers and distinguishes Apple from the “buy now, come back in a year” strategy used by some of Apple's competitors.