Apple just announced that their latest version of OS X, “Mavericks” is available now, for free. Both Apple and Google now offer free operating software, subsidized by hardware, advertising, or other software sales. Can Microsoft continue to charge for Windows?
With free OS (OS X, Chrome) and free productivity (Google Docs, iLife, iWork) software, along with powerful customizable free scripting (Python) and statistical/numerical analytics (R) tools, it seems that all the basic software needed for research and business are free. And let’s not forget other free software, like free 3-D design or mapping tools.
It will be interesting to see what software people will still pay for. Certainly the latest and greatest games, must-have apps, and hard-to-replicate specialty software. But the era of the big expensive (at least to the consumer) OS and productivity suite is over.
(Photo credit: WSJ Apple Event Live Blog)