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The fact that Mavericks is free demonstrates how Apple has reacted to this new hyper-competitive landscape. Microsoft cannot give away Windows. They don’t even make PCs. They rely on OEM relationships and upgrades to make a profit with Windows. Apple, on the other hand, sells both hardware and software. OS X Mountain Lion cost $20, but Mavericks is free. It was a good move to forgo the $20 and just give away Mavericks. It builds brand loyalty and underscores the true value of buying a Macintosh. Macs are more expensive than Windows PCs, but they include a lot more software. Macs come equipped with great software — iMovie, GarageBand, Time Machine, and FaceTime, to name just a few. If a Windows machine comes with pre-installed software, it’s usually very weak — trial versions and watered-down software. Consumers who purchase a new Windows machine have to buy software just to do the basics. Upgrading the operating system costs about $200. When you add it up, the Mac is a good value, and with Mavericks available for free, it’s even better.
Apple is responding to Microsoft’s attacks in other ways. Apple now takes iWorks seriously and offers it free on all new iPhones. Office is Microsoft’s most important software suite. Office has enabled Microsoft to capture the corporate market. Although Microsoft Office is available for OS X, the success of iWorks would completely shut out Microsoft. Corporations are purchasing Macs, and more importantly, choosing iOS devices for their mobile computing needs. Microsoft is in trouble and reacting with desperate attacks instead of innovation. When Apple announced that Mavericks would be free, they pointed out the cost of a Windows upgrade. This move is a response to Microsoft’s desire to compete with everyone while they are slowly becoming irrelevant. If Microsoft’s plan is to viciously compete against everyone, even HP, they’re in for quite a struggle.
Like most OS X releases, Mavericks is not a radical change. It does introduce new features. Most notably, it will enable Macs to get more out of what they have. MacBooks will have better battery life after installing Mavericks. All Macs will manage memory better, using the new compressed memory feature. If you only have 4 GB of RAM, with Mavericks, it will seem like you have 6GB. Additionally, graphics performance scales based on usage. It’s rare for an operating system to offer better performance. Microsoft Windows upgrades always run slower on the same hardware. Mavericks users love the new OS!
In addition to getting more out of your Mac, Mavericks has other useful features. One can tag documents, making them much easier to find. Safari now supports the iCloud Keychain, enhancing online security. Mavericks also adds Maps, bringing it inline with iOS. For more information on Mavericks features, check out this article.