This article was first published on 2009-06-08. Due to the age of this article, it is included here for archive purposes only.
My favorite Mac news coming out of WWDC ’09 was that Apple is pricing Snow Leopard, the next version of OS X, at $29. I’ve been concerned that Apple might over play their hand and charge the usual $129 for a new version but without all the consumer shiny bells and whistles that get people excited. They might make some money on that approach, but probably a fraction of the usual amount.
Instead they wisely priced it at $29 (only $9.95 for those who buy new Macs after today). When I saw that, I said to myself, "They have my money." I’m willing to take a flier in that $20- $30 range, but not for $130. But when they announced it will be available in September and my first reaction was, "Really? That long?"
Then I thought about it some more and I started seeing all the articles that will be in all the different media this Fall. It’s the first time in a long time Apple and MS will release new OS versions at roughly the same time, and Apple will have theirs out first and it will be priced as an upgrade way below Windows 7. There will be charts and "shootouts’ and all that comparison business, but what will show up at the bottom line will be $29 vs. $99, $149 or whatever MS will be charging for the flavor you want.
That’s a nice place for Apple to be in: Way cheaper than Microsoft. The way it usually goes is that Apple gets the awards for having the better product, but the PC version comes in as slightly cheaper. This way, with Snow Leopard, they should win from both angles.
Yes, I know that Apple is marketing Snow Leopard to existing Mac users who aren’t about to jump to PCs over the price of an OS upgrade. The people that actually will be buying Snow Leopard are folks like you and me who are wondering whether it’s worth $30 to juice our Macs up a bit.
But what the important thing Apple might achieve with this price point is altering perception. It’s the switchers they are really after. And there will dozens and dozens of comparisons this holiday season and everything that points to Macs being affordable helps Apple sell more. Remember, selling hardware is where Apple makes their money.
Now if Exchange support turns out to be bulletproof, they may have a slam dunk on their hands. Another of the last reasons to not buy a Mac will be chopped down.
What do you think? Let us know in the Comments section below!