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Does Apple Mac OS X Lion Mark End Of Disks & Software Retailing?

By cutting the middlemen and slashing the price of its latest operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, to £20, Apple is aiming to make Mac software retailing obsolete, something that arch rival Microsoft hasn't achieved.

The operating system, released on Wednesday, is the first desktop OS that can only be obtained online, in this case through Apple's online store (mobile OSes like iOS are already downloable); a USB version will be made available at a later stage but no OS-on-a-disk is planned.

The debut of Mac OS X Lion also coincides with the launch of the no-optical disk Mac Mini. It is likely that in the near future, neither the Macbook Pro nor the iMac will come with an optical disk drive with the latter being offered as a £69 option.

Software will only be available through Apple's Mac Store; this not only will cut the costs of production and delivery (think about the posh box and the expensive looking manuals) but also restrict the number of outlets for Mac applications to one.

By eliminating the middlemen altogether, Apple is making life for companies that sell technology a little bit more difficult, and it will encourage others like Adobe or Microsoft to follow suit.

The mid-term impact on software distribution companies is likely to be devastating as Apple swiftly moves to eliminate any physical media from its product range.