Apple's Last Minute Decision Was a Good One

by Derrick Story

When I read the pre-Macworld reports that Apple was going to charge for the entire suite of iApps, I got that familiar Apple feeling in the pit of my stomach. "Oh boy, here we go again."

Aim gun downward; shoot twice.

Then, what really irritated me was Joe Wilcox's c|net article, Apple preparing new upgrade fees where he spelled out the iApps fee plan before Steve Jobs had even taken the stage. My view is that the news should actually happen before journalists write about it. It's one thing to say what you think might happen, it's another to write what will happen.

After reading the c|net report, I said to my editorial director, "Damn, I sure hope Apple changes its mind at the last minute and serves these guys a big plate of crow."

Apparently, that's what happened. In this morning's report from, "Steve Jobs decided some four days before his keynote address at Macworld Expo in San Francisco to give away two software applications for free, company sources have confirmed." Later in the article, more evidence surfaces: "In addition, there is clear public evidence through an excerpt of a soon-to-be-released book about iLife products that Apple has planned on charging for the complete iApp bundle for some time." I can't confirm thinksecret's report, but it's consistent with what I've observed.

By now, everyone knows what really happened at the keynote. Jobs announced a smart, fair approach to the iApp upgrades. If you have the bandwidth, you'll be able to download the new versions of iPhoto and iMovie. Or, you can purchase them all on CD, including iDVD for $50.

That is a reasonable business proposal. I know it costs money to develop these applications. They're darn good. But, the iApps are also a powerful motivator to move to Mac OS X, and last time I checked, there are still a few people who haven't switched ... yet. By keeping a primary incentive in place, and offering a paying alternative to those who want the convenience, Apple has put the gun back in the holster.

As for reporting the news before it happens ... The last guy I would ever be so bold as to predict his behavior is Steve Jobs, especially when he gets in his zone and starts listening to that little voice inside.

Apple's handling of the iApps is just another indicator that this company is ready for serious business in 2003 -- and that Steve Jobs is definitely still in charge.


2003-01-14 10:43:24
If Apple is to gain market share through "switchers" then they need to bundle the iApps as they have done so far. Cost of Mac ownership is high enough as it is. Redmond doesn't even charge for it's included apps, differences notwithstanding. Bad enough we got hosed on .Mac and the $129 Mac OS X upgrade, both of which require a Mac that's twice as costly as a PC.
2003-01-14 11:44:39
Re: Agreed
"Bad enough we got hosed on .Mac and the $129 Mac OS X upgrade, both of which require a Mac that's twice as costly as a PC."

This is such a irresponsible statement. Can you sell me a PC laptop that costs half of the $999 iBook or the $799 iMac, even if it's only half as good.

2003-01-14 14:26:42
Rumor cover-up? :-)
Let me get this straight -- a Rumor site says that something will happen, and when it doesn't, claims that the decision was changed at the last minute? Aren't they also the site that claimed "No Laptop Upgrades" and "new browser possible, but somewhat unlikely?" Why am I not trusting this source? :-)

Even so, iApps have been included with Macs anyway, and that wasn't likely to change. In fact, things are better, 'cause we can get iMovie 3 for free, instead of paying like we did for iMovie 2.

IMHO, this was typically alarmist rumor-mongering.

2003-01-14 17:45:09
I just think c|net was full of it.
I have felt from the first time I read that article that something was fishy about it. It turns out there was. I seriously doubt that anyone had the full story, and c|net wanted to try and slander apple some more (when reporting on rumors you can compare them to the sleeping giant and get away with it).

What surprizes me the most is how accurate they were about the iDVD pricing, but then again I don't think the iLife bundled was ever intended to be "pay only".

2003-01-14 17:57:00

The flyer for iLife that I have in front of me for iLife states

" Three of the four programs - iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD - have been revised, and all four are now part of a unified digital studio called iLife. iLife will be included with all new Macs and sold separately for $49.

Like Derrick, I'm really glad Steve changed his mind. !!