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Thursday, October 24, 2013

APPLE Throws in free iLife, iWork with purchase of iOS or MAC :

In San Francisco on Tuesday, the company revealed a novel strategy -- giving away its flagship software. It may be the most natural move Apple could have made. Apple revealed lots of new things on Tuesday during its product event at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, but the most intriguing among them was not on the product list -- its newest business strategy: aggressive pricing.

"Today we're revolutionizing pricing," said Apple's senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi, right before announcing that the company would be giving away OS X Mavericks, Apple's new flagship Mac operating system. On the screen behind him, the word "Free" appeared from behind a glimmer of light, one of the hokey slide animations that Apple has used in its keynote slides since Steve Jobs was the ringmaster.

On a day where Apple announced a slimmer, faster, renamed iPad Air, and an iPad Mini with Retina Display, the biggest story may have been in dollars and cents, with the company electing to give away some of its marquee software offerings.

Aside from Mavericks, Apple also announced that its iLife and iWorks suites -- with revamped versions of key apps like Garage Band and Pages -- would also be free with new iOS or Mac purchases. It's not an insignificant sum for consumers. iWork apps like Pages and Keynote currently cost $20 a pop in Apple's app store.

 Giving away software could also be one of the most natural moves for Apple. Chuck Jones, founder of Sand Hill Insights, a technology research firm, notes that most of the company's new Mac users probably already own iPhones and iPads, and updates for iOS -- Apple's mobile operating system -- have always been free. Following suit with the desktop OS might just be the right play into consumer behavior.

Not only does the strategy shift come when Apple's competitors are stocking up their war chests, but also at a time when Apple is sitting pretty, to the point of, its critics say, coasting. While the company gets a lot of flak these days charging that it's lost the ability to innovate, it's still got fat margins and lots of users. "They've got so many people in the ecosystem now. Now is the time to make sure they stay," said Jones.

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