Newsletter #373 Preview: Apple and the $1.99 Controversy

January 22nd, 2007

There’s a general perception that Apple is greedy, that they will try to take you for every dime you have. Not all at once, of course, but in little increments. You buy a new Mac today, you’ll have to pay full price for an operating system upgrade every year or two. The Apple digital lifestyle applications are usually upgraded every year as well — although it appears iLife ’07 is presently missing in action — and you do not get a discount if you own a previous version.

The very same thing applies to .Mac. You may receive a discount or a rebate at the start when you sign up, but then it’s $99 a year for the rest of your natural life, or as long as .Mac exists; whichever is first, of course.

Indeed, you can’t say that Microsoft is necessarily generous either. Consider the cost of those Windows Vista upgrades. The end user doesn’t stand a chance, unless you buy lots and lots of seats for each product, or you’re a PC maker. Then you pay a fraction of what regular people pay.

Over the years, Apple has gotten into some trouble with some of you even when they seemed to be doing right by their customers.

Take the Mac OS 10.1 upgrade, for example. It was considered “free” to Mac OS 10.0 users, if you happened to find a copy of the upgrade package at a local dealer. But if you didn’t, you’d be asked to pay $19.95 shipping and handling. You can imagine how many people decided that this was exorbitant, that Apple was somehow profiting from this exercise in corporate pecuniary behavior. In other words, they were ripping you off, or at least that was the claim.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.

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