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Apple revises educational licensing agreements

updated 12:15 pm EDT, Mon September 28, 2009

May impact prevalence of Macs in schools

Apple has made major alterations to its educational licensing program, ones which could potentially raise the cost of Macs for schools. The company is said to be abandoning a previous volume licensing scheme, which allowed institutions to buy Mac OS X at costs of $39 to $59 per copy, depending the amount of licenses ordered. Instead, schools must now pay for annual license renewals.

Apple is also said to be dropping cheaper site licenses for its iLife and iWork suites. Schools must as a result acquire upgrades in unison with Mac OS X updates, or pay normal retail prices. In an example of the former, a 500-seat license for the Mac Software Collection -- including all three program components -- is valued at $14,999.

Subscribing to Apple software also imposes a one-time, 10 percent enrollment fee, though the company is currently waiving it until December 13th. Apple has long had a close association with schools, which have sometimes provided a market for Macs when they had little public popularity. During the 1980s many schools were equipped with variants of the Apple II.

by MacNN Staff





  1. afaby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Horrible move.

    The reason M$ dominates is because students learn predominately about how to use and develop for the PC in schools. Apple is ensuring smaller market share in the future by making it more expensive for schools to adopt their platform.

    Good job.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Evil much?

    Apple has no interest in unprofitable or low profit markets, educational or otherwise. If Apple is the trendy brand between 12 and 25 year olds, why should it bother with the back-door educational approach when the AppleStores are sucking these kiddies in through the front door? Tsk! Tsk!

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Hmmmm... Huh?

    Who approved that? It looks like a questionable move.

    I bet even with the new Apple pricing structure, they're still cheaper than Microsoft.

    Apple IS in business to make a profit, but still it ain't a great PR move.

  1. Paul Huang

    Joined: Dec 1969


    who would license those things anyway?


    iLife 09 only works on G4/867 or faster
    iWork 09 only works on G4/500 or faster

    However, works and works efficiently are two different things.

    This may force the schools to consider buying new systems. Spending US$549 and save 10% (iLife licensing cost) is not a bad thing. iWork? Halfway baked Pages templates and non-standard short cuts make it not such a good deal, although keynote is worth the price of admission.

  1. apple4ever

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Horrible, Horrible Move

    This pretty much triples the cost we pay for iLife, iWorks, and OSX.

    Bad, bad idea.

  1. paulc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Keep in mind...

    they do NOT want to be Apple COMPUTER, just Apple. It's all about pods & cell phones these days.

    MANY will disagree, but I think I'll see the day when Macs are no more... and social security is only months away.

  1. milhouse

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Horrible idea

    Annual licensing agreements? Way to send the wrong message to schools, Apple.

    Stupid, short-term financially motivated, shoot yourself in the face move.

  1. theLedger

    Joined: Dec 1969


    great deal

    This is a great deal. $15k for 500 computers works out to $30 a year for iWork, iLife, and the Mac OS. Try buying the box set every other year at retail and see how much that costs.

    And it covers faculty use at home on their personal Macs at the schools discretion if they include that in the count.

    Not bad to simplify administration, make the costs predictable, and get iWork/iLife out there more.

  1. jedi1yoda1

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Saves our district money

    This summer we spend over $31K on software licensing from Apple. Our money got us 625 Leopard licenses and 10 site licenses for iLife '09 (one for each building, as that 500 seat license is restricted by building address). This only provided just under half of our districts Macs with the software (as some whole machines were replaced this summer as well as will be next summer).

    After next summer, to keep software up-to-date for the next 4 years of a computer's life (our hardware replacement schedule), we were looking at close to $50-60K a year to keep the OS up-to-date with the old method.

    This new program will give us up-to-date OS, iLife and iWork (something that we haven't been able to do in the past) for all of our Macs every year for just under what we spent this year for less than half of the computers.

    The years this will cost us are the years there is no OS update. This will save us any year there is an OS update. If a new OS only comes once every 18 months, the price-per-year averages out to still less than it would on the old plan.

    It also means I don't have to worry as much about going over licenses as Apple wants our "best faith estimate." This means if I have say 1503 computers, and I get 1500 licenses, I'm covered. It also covers machines going in and out of our district. If I replace 500 machines, those new machines are covered.

    What we should be hoping for is Apple lowering the hardware cost per machine and sending us blank, no software computers. That will really save us as we aren't buying duplicate licenses (a portion of the price of your computer covers iLife and the OS).

    And all this is still significantly lower than what we pay for licensing to Microsoft for Windows/Office/Servers. We have equal amounts of PC/Mac in our district, but yearly bill to Microsoft is significantly higher.

  1. bdmarsh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cheaper for some

    The licensing appears to be cheaper for those that were keeping everything up to date. with less accounting by the IT staff - easier to budget. Would need someone who has been keeping track of total costs of the past 3-5 years for a good comparison on if there is any savings, or makes it any easier.

    But some won't like the yearly fee, that is already seen in the comments.

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