Feeds

Apple in iWork piracy boost

Tinfoil-hat marketing analysis

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

A support document has appeared on Apple's website stating that a serial number is no longer required for the installation of the latest version of Apple's productivity suite, iWork '09.

Serial number-based piracy protection was a "feature" of iWork when it was introduced in January 2005 as iWork '05 and has remained an iWork-installation requirement though its '06 and '08 incarnations.

And now it's gone.

We asked Apple the reasoning behind their decision to better enable iWork piracy, but at press time, we had not yet received a response.

So let's guess.

First, the basics: While iWork has its fans - especially those of its fluid and powerful presentation software, Keynote - it's far from being a dangerous competitor to Microsoft Office for Mac 2008.

And Apple is now preparing to launch a pay-to-play version 1.0 of its iWork.com online document sharing, reviewing, and commenting service, which is now in beta. iWork.com requires iWork '09.

Removing piracy protection can increase the installed base of a product. And when that product is not an industry standard such as Microsoft Office, it's a safe bet that piracy will be limited to an extra installation or three for some relatively small percentage of legal copies. It's unlikely that child laborers in some Southeast Asian sweatshop are going to be burning millions of copies of iWork '09.

For iWork.com to become a money-maker, a large installed based of iWork '09 users needs to exist. And since iWork.com will almost certainly be a subscription-based service - a service that generates a steady stream of regular payments - it just might make financial sense for Apple to passively encourage "extra" installations of iWork '09.

After all, it's not as if Cupertino is losing $79 for every pirated installation - pirates often "repurpose" software they wouldn't have bought otherwise.

Our cynical self can't suppress the idea of other possible development: If the removal of iWork '09's serial-number requirement does, indeed, increase the productivity suite's installed base, and if a significant portion of that installed based gets hooked on iWork.com, and if a future version of iWork requires that users upgrade to that new version to be able to continue to use iWork.com, then Apple might choose to reapply the serial-number requirement for, say, iWork '10.

Cynical, yes - but possible. ®

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.