Originally Posted by SolipsismX
That might be a record for the number of stupid comments in one post.
His comments on education were so off the charts that it cast a shadow of stupidity on the entire post!
However, I think his first idea of making iWork and iLife free apps is not all that stupid.
When MS Launches Win 8 tablet, they will definitely have Office tablet edition available for Win 8. At that point, there will be millions of people who would consider Win 8 tablets simply because of its ability to handle Office documents. And it is quite likely that higher end customers like Enterprise, etc, would find Office compatibility useful. So even if MS comes up with a too-little-too-late kind of solution, just having Office could help them significantly.
Let's face it - the revenue that Apple makes from iWork and iLife in iOS is not significant. It is decent money, but does not even begin to register in the Apple scheme of things.
It might actually be smart for Apple to release iWork and iLife for iOS as free, and possibly even release a version of iWork for Windows for free. In any case Apple needs to do something like this, otherwise iCloud will not be very effective for pretty much most customers. iCloud cannot take off being just a media, photos, contacts and mail solution. It obviously needs to have robust document sharing, editing and viewing capability - and this will be effective only if iWork is available on the Windows platform. Using only the web version of iWork might be ok for some users and some docs - but is not the ideal solution for all docs and all users!
Considering Apple's marketshare in tablets, there is a small window of opportunity for Apple to get iWork established in the marketplace. Today iWork is a neither here nor there kind of solution. In fact - if Apple so wishes, the bold move would be to make iWork open source. Open Office is way too geeky a solution and in its current shape just cannot hope to become a mass market alternative to Office. But an open source version of iWork would be a totally different animal - and could easily become a significant number 2 to MS Office. And an open source iWork would be the best option for Apple to counter Google Docs.
iLife on the other hand should be retained as an exclusively Mac OS and iOS solution. There really is nothing to compete with iLife on any other platform, and iLife adds unique value to Apple's platforms. Whether Apple gives it away free, or charges nominal money for it, it is not a big deal anyway.
There was a time when the Mac Box Set with Mac OS, iWork and iLife was sold at $129 - for 5 computers. That works out less than $10 per package per computer. And Apple never enforced any licensing or copy protection, etc - so their actual revenue would have been much lower than even that figure - it is way too easy to borrow the disc from a friend and install all three packages!
Considering how little Apple makes on iLife, iWork, etc, there is a hidden cost for Apple - despite however low the prices are - the very fact that there is a price, means that there will be a lot of customers of Apple who are running older versions of iLife and iWork (when you upgrade your OS to Lion, you don't get the latest versions of iLife and iWork). This fragmentation and multiple versions could actually cost more to support, than just giving away iLife and iWork, and supporting just the latest version. For instance - if there was a security hole discovered in iLife or iWork - Apple needs to patch older versions as well - if the update was free, they could just stop supporting older versions.