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Apple Offers "Family License" for Jaguar 42

Posted by pudge
from the but-it-will-still-take-me-all-day-to-install-it-on-five-machines dept.
DietFluffy writes "According to this article, Apple Computer will offer a $199 5-user family license for Jaguar (Mac OS X 10.2). The article notes that the family license program depends on an honor system because unlike Microsoft, Apple 'does not put technical barriers in place to prevent people from installing software on more than one machine.'" It's likely that most families would buy only one license anyway, so Apple stands to lose little. Sounds like a smart move to me. (For those keeping score on today's game, that makes it Apple 2, Microsoft 0.)
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Apple Offers "Family License" for Jaguar

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  • Nice... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by questionlp (58365) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @05:00PM (#4079329) Homepage
    Putting the whining and moaning about the cost of upgrading to 10.2, it is nice that Apple is providing such a package. At $199, the cost of each upgrade for five machines (be it an iBook, an older iMac, a new iMac, etc.) comes down to around $40 a pop. It is much cheaper than the cost of five upgrades to Windows XP Home Edition, as those go for $99 for the first one and $89 for each additiona license (more info can be found here [microsoft.com]); add $100 for each license/copy for Windows XP Professional.
    • The price still interesting even with merely two macs in the housold, and it couldn't be otherwise; how many family owns 5 jaguar-compatible-macs?
      • My family owns three, and maybe a fourth if I ever got around to putting some more memory in my 6400. Okay, so it's not a speed demon, but it will run OS X once you get it to boot.
  • this license/marketing concept is similar to gobe's family license. they too marketed it as a response to microsoft's draconian anti-piracy measures.

    unfortunately gobe is going bankrupt. (on the upside, gobe productive will be gpl'd).
  • Look, no Dragons! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by freerangegeek (451133) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @06:02PM (#4079592)
    Please make sure to notice, Apple isn't attempting to add security to make anyone 'buy' their family license. Instead they're just giving you the option to be a good citizen and pay for those upgrades.

    Lambast Apple all you want for the price of 10.2, but remember you won't suddenly find that your iMac stopped working because somebody thinks you've stolen the license.

    I really want to see how many people will avail themselves of this option. Perhaps the MPAA and RIAA will sit up and notice if people demonstrate that they're willing to pay for reasonable licenses.

    • Re:Look, no Dragons! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 15, 2002 @07:07PM (#4079939)
      Lambast Apple all you want for the price of 10.2, but remember you won't suddenly find that your iMac stopped working because somebody thinks you've stolen the license.

      I work at Apple, and I can tell you that if management decided to try to pull that kind of shit, engineering would make quite sure that it was trivial to defeat.
  • by sebi (152185) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @06:34PM (#4079764)
    It's a nice thing to do, but only something that Apple can really afford to pull of (what with the honor system and all). The five machines that Jaguar will be installed on under this license have allready brought money to Apple. I'm sure that they don't like people to pirate their OS, but they surely aren't going to lose sleep if somebody does it. They are, after all, a hardware company. They can "risk" to play nice and improve their image. After all people are going to be buying Apples again in the future - especially if they feel like the company treats them with respect.
    • That's it! Apple can afford to! Apple is rich!

      Microsoft, on the other hand, with their $40 Billion in the bank, certainly isn't in any economic position to back off on their draconian licensing. I mean, how many gold plated ivory back scratchers would those extra 3 licenses/home cost them. :)

    • The five machines that Jaguar will be installed on under this license have allready brought money to Apple. I'm sure that they don't like people to pirate their OS, but they surely aren't going to lose sleep if somebody does it. They are, after all, a hardware company.
      That's an interesting theory, but economically it only works if developing an Operating System is essentially free. After all, the machines could be years old, so their money is already banked. In order to pay for the OS development, people have to pay for the OS.

      Granted, Apple has less risk than Microsoft because Apple sells something other than the Operating System. But it's analogous to saying that Microsoft shouldn't worry about people pirating Office because they've already had to pay for a copy of Windows. Different departments have different budgets and different sources of revenue.

      =Brian

      • by sebi (152185) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @08:45PM (#4080342)
        Developing the OS is anything but free. Apple will never recoup the development costs for Jaguar through revenues from boxed copies. They are a hardware company and only concerned about their bottom line. Departments and budgets are a tool for controlling but at the end of a quarter the performance of the whole company has to be satisfying.

        People might install Jaguar on old machines, but IIRC the oldest machines officially supported by it where officially EOLd about 2,5 to 3 years ago. If you want to compare Apple's situation to MS you could say that they don't care about people pirating Windows as long as they pay for Office -- and essentially this statement used to be true. For MS Office is (or used to be) where the money is. For Apple it's hardware. In my opinion Apple has its priorities right: They go after companies that enable the theft of software (Other World Computing had a programm that allowed to use third party DVD burners with iDVD - but iDVD is payed for when you get a Superdrive)and they go after websites that publish instructions how to turn the free 10.1 upgrade CD into a full installer. But they don't lock their users down with DRM schemes (iPod - Don't steal music) and they don't make it hard to install legit copies of their OS on multiple machines. I did not pay for 10.1. I got it from a friend who got the installer with a new machine. I will not buy Jaguar for my tower. I will instead install the version from the iBook that I'm about to buy. Both times I was /will be wrong. But Apple will probably not prosecute me or even make me feel like a criminal. They get my money one way or the other and that is the important thing for them. And they will continue to get money from me as long as they will make computers and give me the feeling of being a respected by them. Plus the money that I don't spend on a legit copy of Jaguar for my tower will sooner or later show up as a Mac sale for Adobe -- something that is good for Apple as well.
  • not a plus (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It's likely that most families would buy only one license anyway, so Apple stands to lose little. Sounds like a smart move to me

    Right, except this probably means that there will be more anti-copying mechanisms and perhaps a network-aware multiple copies checker. As you said, most families only buy one copy so unless Apple forces them they wouldn't buy the multiple license scheme. Given the fact that Apple likes to put loyal customers into corners focusing on scoring more money on the OS sounds like something they'd do. It is well within their bounds to this, though, so I'm not too bothered by it. I wouldn't score this as a plus, just another way to squeeze out more money from their limited customer base.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday August 15, 2002 @07:13PM (#4079959) Journal
      Right, except this probably means that there will be more anti-copying mechanisms and perhaps a network-aware multiple copies checker.

      From the article:

      The family license program, to some degree, depends on the honor system. Although legally Mac owners are required to purchase a copy of the operating system for each Mac they own, Apple, unlike Microsoft, does not put technical barriers in place to prevent people from installing software on more than one machine.


      Given the fact that Apple likes to put loyal customers into corners focusing on scoring more money on the OS sounds like something they'd do.

      Guess again.

      -jcr
    • Re:not a plus (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Read the article! "Apple, unlike Microsoft, does not put technical barriers in place to prevent people from installing software on more than one machine." I don't think that's going to change. This offer is great for anyone with more than one Mac system that doesn't want to take the "casual piracy" route.
  • However, he said that many Mac owners want their installations to be legal, but they're not willing to pay full price for each copy of the operating system.

    "This is a great way to allow honest people to remain honest," Bereskin said.


    Seems like a decent way to handle this situation, I'm still screwed but whatever.
  • by mrmoa (588841)
    Apple might be trying to kill a small covey of birds with one stone. Not all of these birds are necessarily good, though.

    • First, they can pump up the OS X installed base number by 5 with every '5 pack' they sell -- even if the OS gets installed on only 2 or 3 machines.
    • Second, they lower the price of Jaguar to their most loyal consumer users - those who have multiple Macs at home. (Noting that Apple already providing a lower cost upgrade path for corporate customers.)
    • Third, they have at least a paper answer for the critics who say that the upgrade costs too much.
    • Fourth, they set the stage for future 'draconian activation' schemes.
  • by sg3000 (87992) <sg_public@m[ ]com ['ac.' in gap]> on Thursday August 15, 2002 @08:45PM (#4080339)
    This is a plan that Microsoft can rip off with impunity.

    There are two ways to deal with people who are loose with their software licenses.

    1. Clamp down hard to make sure they can only install the software once on a single piece of hardware. Systematically piss off your entire user base.

    2. Pragmatically realize that users are going to install their software on every machine in their house. Therefore, change your licensing to make such a practice legal. Charge a reasonable amount to do this.

    Note: Item 1 will only work if you are willing to illegally abuse your monopoly.

    Cheers to Apple. $199 for 5 home licenses is great because the majority of Mac users I know have two or three Macs in their house and this allows them to "get legal" without breaking the bank.
  • Wha? (Score:3, Troll)

    by extrasolar (28341) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @09:03PM (#4080408) Homepage Journal
    Why is installing software on more than one computers a bad thing?
    • Why is installing software on more than one computers a bad thing?

      It's not, unless you fail to compensate the large group of people who spent exorbitant amounts of time and money developing said software.

      • That's not much of an argument, I'm afraid. Not everyone gets rewarded for commiting a lot resources to a project. And your argument certainly doesn't tell me how much compensation they should get from their project.

        Luckily, foobar makes a better argument for your position.
    • Re:Wha? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by foobar104 (206452) on Thursday August 15, 2002 @10:23PM (#4080692) Journal
      Why is installing software on more than one computers a bad thing?

      Two reasons: principle, and economics.

      On the one hand, Apple asks you to buy one copy of the software per computer (except in the case of this 5-pack, of course). If you're not willing to comply with that request, then you should not use the software at all. Using it on two computers without paying for two copies is like taking two newspapers from the machine after putting in only one quarter: it's stealing.

      On the other hand, Apple spends a fortune developing this software, but sells it at a much lower price because they're expecting to sell a certain number of copies. That number is based on how many Macs are out there now, and what fraction of the owners will want to use the new software. See, they're counting Macs, not people or families or little groups of warezing teens. If they sell too few copies of OS X 10.2, they won't make their money back, and there won't be a Mac OS X 10.3. So using two copies when you only pay for one indirectly deprives you of future products that you'd like to have.

      And, of course, there's the best reason of all: because your momma told you so, idiot.
      • Hello, foobar. You make a good case and I have changed my mind about the matter, except in the cases when Apple uses its control of the software against the will of the customer.

        I've seen some of your replies--sorry about calling you a troll.
        • Re:Wha? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by foobar104 (206452)
          That was awfully nice of you to say.

          In the interest of reasoned debate, I want to challenge you on something. Feel free to ignore me; I'm just striking up a conversation.

          You say-- or, more accurately, imply-- that you don't approve of Apple's using its control of the software against the will of the customer. I'm wondering if you really mean that in absolute terms, or if you're just generalizing. Because clearly there are cases in which the will of the customer can be contrary to Apple's best interest. For example, it might be the will of the customer to make copies of Jaguar CDs and sell them for $10 each, but that would clearly be an activity of which Apple would not approve, and which Apple would try very hard to stop.

          Would you care to elaborate on what you meant by "uses its control of the software against the will of the customer?"
          • Well, first your example is flawed in that people are allowed to make backup copies of software by fair use rights as I understand it.

            But one example is spyware. Software should not send private information of the user across the internet nor leave backdoors in security software. This is a more extreme example of the "obviously not right" category.

            Another, more debatable, example is advertising in software restricted under copyright. Since the user isn't allow to edit out this functionality, it is wrong for the developer to force this feature onto him.

            The obvious response is for the user to choose another product. In the spyware case, the user may not even be aware of this feature of the software. In the second case, there may be any variety of reasons the user can't switch (an example given below).

            It is my belief that by controlling the functionality of the software gives developers an indirect power over the user. A developer may decide to only allow interoperability with certain file formats and exclude others. Another developer may create a converter from that format to another, but then the former developer may increase the complexity of the file format. The two developers would continue to compete in this---all beyond the will of the user.

            I honestly didn't mean to imply that Apple does controll the software against the will of the user. I simply mean to say that the opportunity exists, in even indirect forms.
  • Apple makes all their money in hardware, it's to their advantage that their software is as appealing as possible to encourage more hardware purchase.

    Unlike microsoft on the other hand, where a bug-filled windows installation will result in a possible future upgrade, and where an operating system that gets slower over time(despite not even installing anything) will result in hardware sales and thus another microsoft purchase (usually bundled).

    For these reasons you get working almost faultless software from Apple, and a potential nightmare with Microsoft.

  • So the His laptop, the Hers laptop,
    the G3 desktop machine (the one running NetBSD, right now).

    That's 3.

    But I still can't upgrade the 4 NeXT's to this NeXTStep 5.6 release they call Jaguar.

    Bastards.

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