Is it smart to limit software sales to only downloads?

dbrown

Apple's latest operating system OS X 10.7 "Lion" is only available by download -- it's not for sale in their large network of 285+ retail stores nor at their retail partners (Guitar Center, Amazon, OWC, Best Buy). Does this hurt Apple? Obviously the cost of manufacturing dvd's and shipping them was greater for their last boxed product OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard", but are people as willing to give up optical media as Apple seems to expect?

Topic: Software
Answer this Question

Answers

6 total
RomanZ
Vote Up (22)

If you work for a small, independent software developer and do not have the distribution infrastruture or funds to distribute your software through retail, boxed CD sales, then online / downloadable sales makes the most sense. This isn't necessarily a cold-hearted ploy by Apple -- it's where the industry has been trending, and judging from how few applications are available in Best Buy, Walmart, etc. , one can see that downloads will be how most software is obtained in the future.

sspade
Vote Up (18)

 

If anyone can move their software distribution model to downloads only, it would be Apple. After years of running the iTunes Store to handle music, movies, and apps for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, they started an OSX app store after only a couple months' wait after it was announced. 

 

I agree, there are some unanswered problems with this limited distribution method:

1) how do you handle upgrading multiple computers simultaneously with limited wifi bandwidth?

2) how do you reinstall Lion on a computer with a new hard drive?

3) how does IT manage updating multiple computer security patches if Apple's app store is handling the updates?

 

As with most things Apple does, this will work far better for individuals than for schools and businesses.

 

jlister

You're being far too kind. Steve Jobs has a crazy ability to be thinking 5-10 years ahead of everyone else. He understood the value of optical media in 1987 when he made the NeXtcube with an optical drive and without a floppy drive. He pissed off tons of users in 1997 when he nixxed the floppy drive from the iMac. He's now obviously realized the power of broadband, but from his ivory castle in SF he can't understand that most people have a limited amount of bandwidth that must be shared across an organization - whether it's in your company's offices or back at home in your suburban enclave, where at 5pm bandwidth utilization spikes due to people coming home and tapping into netflix or xbox live -- cable is only fast when it's not over-subscribed. I  predict that fanbois will love the download-only distribution method, but those of us who have to endure supporting Macs will find it so frustrating that they'll develop alternative ways to install Lion. Oh, wait, they already have found a way to put it on USB key and DVD: http://theappledaily.com/2011/07/20/how-to-install-os-x-lion-from-usb-pe...
delia25
Vote Up (17)

Microsoft is rumored to be building an online aps store for use with Windows 8. Who wouldn't want to have a position like Apple, as profiteering middlemen to everyone else's programs for the platform you have created? It's quite brilliant, in fact. My only hope is that Microsoft treats the 3rd-party companies  even-handedly and gives everybody access to the full market of Windows 8 customers, rather than showing favor to some developers over others.

jimlynch
Vote Up (16)

I don't think it hurt Apple at all, though I can see how it might annoy some people who prefer discs in boxes. I personally appreciated the ease of upgrading, so I was all for it. I hate buying and storing optical media and boxes. It's a pain in the butt. So I'd like to see more companies moving in Apple's direction and storing the OS and apps on the cloud if I need to install them again later on.

Vote Up (13)

Side note: once my copy of Lion finished downloading, the first thing I did, even before running it, was copy the program to an external disc.  (Now if I could just find that damn disc.  :-)    )

 

What bothers me about this is that Apple will tout the sales of their download-only Mountain Lion, claiming that the download-only aspect had no effect, completely ignoring the possibility that their sales number probably will have mostly to do with the price: $39, or even $29, for an OS that used to cost $139.

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
Borrowing a page from the recently revised Microsoft playbook, development tools maker Telerik has released as open source the bulk of its Kendo software library of components for building Web and mobile applications
Although Exadata is Oracle's most popular and mature "engineered system," some customers implementing the database machine are making mistakes that prevent them from getting the most performance out of the expensive product, according to a veteran of many Exadata projects.
Even four months after the Mac Pro's initial release, Apple appears to be having problems making enough of the high-end cylindrical desktop computer. The company's store currently shows shipping times of 4-5 weeks for all Mac Pro models, even the stock versions without additional customizations.
Sure, you’ve changed a bunch of passwords, but are you doing all you can to protect yourself?
Google did little during its first-quarter earnings report to shush critics who say its Enterprise unit is a second-class citizen in its kingdom.
This week on World Tech Update, Google confirmed its acquisition of drone maker Titan Aerospace, a move poised to advance delivery of the company's data services and mapping applications.
Red Hat has successfully grown Linux into an enterprise platform, now it's looking to do the same with OpenStack
Facebook now has its own take on location sharing -- an optional feature that periodically broadcasts people's locations to their friends.
Yep, a lot of folks are using Apache OpenOffice -- despite the fact that many Linux distros now default to LibreOffice.
Whether it's the first time you've picked up an iPad or the seventeenth time you've pulled out your iPhone today, there are probably still some iOS 7 features and functionality that you're not familiar with. Don't sweat it: We're here to help. We've collected some of our favorite and most useful tips and compiled them here, just for you.

White Papers & Webcasts

See more White Papers | Webcasts

Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+