Apple seeks dollars in former freebies

Apple's decision to stop offering free downloads of iMovie and iPhoto is part of a clear shift by the Mac maker to try to recoup more of the dollars it invests in creating software for the Mac.

Apple has been pouring resources into consumer software for years, but initially the company gave away the fruits of its labor. The giveaways were justified as a means of differentiating the Mac from its Windows-based rivals. More recently, though, Apple has been making the case to its customers that it needs to bring in revenue from its software efforts in order to keep investing in new development. "This is also a business for us. We want to develop these apps very actively," said Peter Lowe, Apple's director of marketing for applications and services.

Last year, the company started selling several of its titles as a $49 bundle called iLife, but--after some deliberation--it decided to continue with free downloads of iMovie and Photo. Times have changed, however. As earlier reported, iMovie and iPhoto now are available only through the paid iLife suite, although the iTunes jukebox program will remain a free download for both Windows and Mac users. Apple will continue to offer iLife free with a new Mac, so that it can tout the software as a selling point over Windows-based systems and as a good reason for existing users to upgrade their machines. The trend toward charging for once-free software began when Apple started charging for .Mac in 2002. A more basic set of services, dubbed iTools had been free.

News source: C|Net

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