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How Apple Will Reduce Piracy With Mac OS X Lion

Apple has a cunning plan to reduce the piracy of Mac software on the desktop, and that entails changing the way software is distributed as well as changing the cost structure.

It's obvious that Lion won't be a "share-a-disk" OS like Windows has been for decades now. Mac OS X 10.7 is the first mainstream OS to be offered as a downloadable option which requires only a login, password, card number and other security credentials.

Then there's the fact that the OS will only be available on a USB stick with no OS-on-a-disk being announced. The only universal ports that Apple intends to keep in the short term are the SD card and the USB ports; both requiring NAND flash, which makes it very difficult to replicate pirated content on a mass scale.

Mass produced DVDs costs around 5p or 6p to produce while a single 4GB USB would probably cost 50 times that excluding other associated costs like delivery and packaging.

It is also very likely that the optical drives and disks as a physical storage will be eliminated completely in the short term; Apple has quietly yanked the SuperDrive on the MacMini and we wouldn't bet against the other Mac laptops and desktops following suit.

Then there's the fact that Apple plans to offer the OS for only £20, which is quite affordable and may be low enough to entice pirates to go genuine. But there's a catch.

Unlike Microsoft, Apple tends to have a major OS release every year, so if you want to stay on top of everything that's a yearly £20 subscription. Also, some features, like Thunderbolt, are only available on OSes that are two years old or less, a strategy that it also replicates on the iOS platform.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.