macos longcat gag
July 24th, 2011

MacOS X Longcat

Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect

Why yes, I am thinking about installing MacOS X Lion today. I'm kidding about the long download (at least I am so far, not yet having tried it). Downloads are a nice alternative to mucking about with DVDs and inevitably downloading updates to half of what is on them.

No, my real beef today is with Apple's small business licensing, or their complete lack thereof. Apple insists that only companies with 20 or more employees are eligible to purchase Lion under any sort of volume license. According to a representative Geoff reached by phone, Small companies (which make up only, y'know, 50% of the entire US non-farm gross domestic product) must resort to purchasing the software under the iTunes account of every individual user. Even if they don't own "their" Mac. Quite apart from issues of pricing fairness, this is a reimbursement nightmare.

In the Snow Leopard era, small businesses tended to buy the "family pack" and install it on every Mac. Is that fair to Apple when you have, say, twelve Macs in your office and they are not for "personal use?" Probably not, but so far Apple hasn't shown much interest in offering options that make sense for small business. And since designers have been such a loyal and lucrative part of Apple's market lo these many years, that doesn't add up. Companies that fail to offer sensible licensing tend to discover they have unintentionally encouraged people of good character to join the ranks of software pirates.

Apple is allowing users to upgrade all of their Macs with one $29 license for "personal use," which is thoughtful. But you can't swing a cat (short or long) anywhere in the developed world without hitting an officeful of designers with fewer-than-twenty Macs in it. Apple needs to get their act together and send a clear message on upgrades and licensing to our demographic.


Tom Boutell
Chief Software Architect