During Apple’s earnings call this afternoon, during which the company announced all-time record iPhone sales and beat most Wall Street estimates, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer took the opportunity to talk about Apple’s decision to make OS X Mavericks free for all customers. In doing so, he also confirmed that future versions of OS X will also be free, marking a change in Apple’s long-term pricing for OS X updates.
Aside from offering OS X Mavericks for free, Apple also announced at their recent keynote that their iWork and iLife suites of apps would also be distributed for free with new Mac purchases, and noted that the move is expected to cost Apple around $900M (measured in net deferred revenue for the December quarter).
What does this mean? The common translation is that a slightly larger chunk of the money that comes from each Mac and iOS device sale will go towards paying for the free software upgrades. As for Apple’s reasoning behind the free upgrades, Tim Cook summed up the matter quite well:
[We want to] make it [the software updates] a part of what it means to own a Mac and an iOS device. Some other folks charge $199 for each of these — the OS and the productivity apps. We wanted to make it a part of the experience.
Overall, it’s a great move – and judging by Apple’s after-hours stock numbers, which as of this moment are up slightly over the stock’s closing value, Apple’s investors seem to agree.