Sunday, May 20, 2007

Will Apple Start Giving MacOS X Tiger Away for Free?

According to the AppleInsider, Steve Jobs made an interesting comment regarding the future of MacOS 10.4 Tiger:

During the shareholders meeting, Jobs also entertained the suggestion that Apple could mimic Microsoft's strategy of offering developing nations Windows Starter Edition -- a low cost version of Windows XP as an alternative to the much more expensive Windows Vista. "Do you think we should offer Mac OS 9?" Jobs quipped in response.

"I think Apple could sell the developing world Tiger while selling Leopard here," the attendee replied. Jobs paused for a moment and said that could be an option.

If this really happened and Tiger was released to the community for free, it would be beneficial for both Apple and the community, especially for those folks from developing nations that don't have extra money to pay for software.

Tiger for free?

I don't think that Apple should charge users for the old versions of MacOS X. That seems to me like a business model that is very close to the one, that the company they laugh at all the time (read Microsoft) is using. Besides if a customer pays for a product he/she expects to get some support for it which would be an extra burden for Apple.

How would this work?

Apple would remove all the protection that prevents Tiger from running on non-Apple x86 hardware and encouraged the community to build a driver database for hardware that is not supported by Apple.

Tiger would not be released as an open source (Apple is not that generous! :) ). When it comes to support, Apple would not provide any support for customers that don't have AppleCare and/or that run Tiger on non-Apple HW.

Why would this be good for Apple?

The more users that get exposed to MacOS, the more potential customers Apple will have. I believe that some users after seeing and being able to play with MacOS would be willing to pay for the latest, more advanced version.

All of this for almost no effort (no support, drivers developed by community).

Why would this be good for the community?

Users that can't afford to pay for SW and for whatever reason don't want to or can't run Solaris or Linux would have a third choice (besides running a crippled version of Windows, which can't be really counted as a choice).

Do I see this happening?

Uhh.. well... I'm not sure... but it is certainly something that I would welcome!


rasputnik said...

He didn't say anything about 'free' (either in beer or speech).

Igor Minar said...

Good catch Dick!

I missed one whole paragraph in my post.

I added it as "Tiger for free?".