Hand in hand with the availability of the free iWorks applications for Mac OS X and iOS, there’s been a stronger message of disappointment from how Apple has modified its applications – dumbing down its components, Keynote, Pages, Numbers. Apple product customers appear to be more forgiving of feature loss between versions, so I can see how Apple would come to the conclusion that wholesale dumbing down is acceptable. But this leads to speculate that the dumbing down could be a forerunner of something new – a cloud enabled iWork Pro.
Following Adobe’s model with Creative Suite, it makes sense. You can cut down on piracy by putting many features on a server. Also, you can make changes to features and licensing whenever you want.
In addition, by giving away a low end version of the software for free, you can very effectively cut into your competitors business. We’ve been very effectively doing this with the free Valentina Studio and free Valentina Database & Reports Server versions. This strategy isn’t about just increasing awareness – its about shutting down the competition.
You get the free upgrade to Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks, new users get free versions of iWork applications, then its a simple (or not so simple) in-app purchase of iWork Pro. Any of the smaller competitors out there don’t stand much of a chance, so if you are selling competing apps on iTunes or Mac App Store – kiss your slim earnings goodbye.