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Apple's free OS upgrade should give Microsoft some ideas

Posted: 12 Dec 2013     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Microsoft  IHS  Apple  operating system  Windows 8 

According to IHS, Microsoft could learn a thing or two from Apple, which is offering its latest PC operating system for free. Apple's OS X Mavericks, is available at no cost to users. Meanwhile, Microsoft is charging $120 for its widely disliked Windows 8, even though the upgrade is also free for a slightly reworked Windows 8.1, stated the market research firm.

While Microsoft isn't likely to lose its dominant position in traditional PC OS anytime soon, Apple's move could pose a competitive challenge among a segment of fickle consumers.

"With its aspirational products, Apple is already perceived to be an innovator in many ways, and offering free upgrades is yet another step for the trend-setting leader to strengthen its position," said Clifford Leimbach, memory and storage analyst at IHS. "Thus, a move like a free upgrade could well be the tipping point for vacillating fence-sitters, pulling them finally into the Apple camp. A Mac could become more appealing to this receptive segment of buyers, especially when free upgrades now, and for the future, are considered in the overall calculations of a new purchase. Factor in Apple's vaunted ecosystem with its industry-dominant iTunes marketplace for apps, songs and videos, the allure to jump fences could prove irresistible."

Based on the forecast user base, Mac OS share of market will close Q4 at an estimated six percent, down slightly from seven percent during Q3. Share of the Mac OS has been relatively consistent throughout the year, within a range of five to seven percent.

Windows, on the other hand, will retain its overwhelming hold on the OS market. Share in Q4 will amount to 89 percent, up one percentage point from 88 percent in Q3.

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