The Rumor Mill

Jobs Capitulates on .mac, Jaguar

- 2002.07.25

In response to dozens of articles, hundreds of forum postings, and thousands of petition signatures, and a few dozen non-flaming emails, Apple has relented. iTools will remain free and the Jaguar update will only cost enough to cover duplication, packaging, shipping, and handling.

The about face was announced early this morning, shortly after Steve Jobs got up, smacked his forehead, and exclaimed, "What was I thinking?" He then outlined an announcement while showering, edited it on his 17" G4 iMac, and emailed it to the Powers That Be at Apple.

Here's the text:


In our quest to turn a profit, Apple turned its back on its greatest asset, its dedicated user base of over 25 million Macintosh users. As one of only two computer companies turning a profit these days, we realize that we can give away the farm, reduce profits to zero, and have a more loyal following.

That is our intent today.

iTools and .mac

First, we will continue to offer iTools to existing users for free with no change in service. We will not remove the bandwidth limits on homepage, nor will we remove the unstoppable spam filtering on mac.com email accounts. Further, we will not fix the webmail hole uncovered yesterday.

For those desiring more storage space and a much higher bandwidth ceiling, we will continue to offer the .mac service for $99 per year (and discounted to $49 the first year for existing iTools users). Your .mac account will give you access to more storage space, control over spam filtering, online backup, and the other features announced at last week's Macworld Expo.

We will also be offering a la carte options. If a current iTools user or a new .mac user only wants email, an email only account with spam control will be available for $19 per year. As with current .mac accounts, subscribers will be able to piggyback additional mac.com email addresses for $10 per year.

.mac storage space will be available at $50 per year, and homepage space for $50 per year. Homepage space will have a much higher bandwidth limit, making this far more attractive to those offering freeware and shareware on our servers.

Jaguar

Due to the overwhelmingly negative feedback to the $129 price of the OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) upgrade, we will be offering a reduced cost upgrade to current OS X users. Because Jaguar will be a fully installable OS, not simply an upgrade, we cannot do this an cheaply as some would like, but we will be offering it on CD for $49. Education will receive the normal discount.

In response to Microsoft's accusations that we haven't created a big enough OS X market for their Office suite, we are working on recompiling OS X to run on a broader base of Macintosh and Mac compatible hardware, including NuBus and pre-G3 PCI Power Macs and clones. We will make sure Jaguar works with all known third-party video cards, USB and FireWire cards, IDE drive controllers, ethernet cards, and other NuBus and PCI cards made for these Macs and clones. We will also offer full multiprocessor support for dual- and quad-processor machines.

We are also busy working on Mac OS 9.2.3 to make sure it will also work with this hardware, since OS 9.x is required for the Classic Environment to function.

These new users will obviously have to buy a full Jaguar install for the full $129 price.

When Jaguar ships on August 24, it will include certificates of authenticity along with obscenely long license codes. These must be entered when installing Jaguar, and the computer will report successful installation to Apple the first time you connect to the Internet.

To be completely open and honest about it, this report will include the MAC ID from your ethernet circuitry, which will also be hard wired to the copies of OS X and OS 9 installed on your computer. The software will be licensed to one computer only, although we will offer additional license certificates at a reduced price of $99 to individuals, $79 for 10 or more copies, and with our usual discount to the education community.

We are doing this to prevent casual piracy of the Mac OS, which we have facilitated in the past by never bothering to use any kind of serial number protection. After all, if we're going to offer a discount on Jaguar, we have to make up for the lost income somewhere.

Unlike a certain Redmond-based software giant, you won't have to call a phone number to install the OS and make it functional.

Apple Services Bundle

Apple is also announcing our Apple Services Bundle today, which includes one year of .mac service, one year of OS X upgrades, one year of iWares upgrades, one year of QuickTime Pro upgrades, a fully registered copy of AppleWorks (as well as upgrades to it for one year - and that ought to piss of Microsoft), TechTool diagnostic software, one year of online phone support, and an engraved invitation to one keynote address during that year.

The cost of the Services Bundle will also include AppleCare coverage once your Mac reaches a year old, so the exact cost will depend on which Macintosh you use and how old it is. Your subscription to the Services Bundle will automatically be renewed annually until you tell us not to. This will also enhance our bottom line.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software, and Internet offerings.

To continue doing so, we need to bleed our users a little more. We regret the inconvenience, but we have to pay for a jet, stock options, salaries, R&D, marketing, and so many other things. We really can't run Apple as a charity.

- Anne Onymus

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