Interestingly, Apple has made the decision to no longer require a serial number for the retail copy of iWork. It doesn’t require any online activation, and — in the same fashion as iLife — would seem to have no piracy prevention as such. Apple notes that: […]


Interestingly, Apple has made the decision to no longer require a serial number for the retail copy of iWork. It doesn’t require any online activation, and — in the same fashion as iLife — would seem to have no piracy prevention as such.

Apple notes that:

iWork ’09 retail boxes no longer come with a serial number. Install iWork ’09 from the enclosed disc and you’re ready to go.

Obviously a serial is still required if you choose to download and activate the iWork trial via the Apple website.

Though retail versions of iWork ’09 no longer come with serial numbers, you will need a serial number if you are using the iWork ’09 trial version and decide to purchase the fully-functional version of iWork ’09

Potential Reasons Why

There are a number of different reasons why Apple may have chosen to take this route. Firstly, it could simply be that the method of using a serial key is a fairly ineffective anti-piracy tool. Serials soon become widely available online, making it easy to steal the software without purchasing a license.

Secondly it could be that Apple is planning to take iWork down the same route as iLife, bundling the application as standard with a new Mac. This is a move I would have already expected Apple to make, as it’s a logical step towards generating widespread use of their software. When faced with a choice between iWork and Microsoft Office for Mac, consumers are likely to choose the option they are already familiar with. If iWork is bundled for free, however, it is a no-brainer to at least give the software a try before electing to purchase Office.

Why Does This Matter?

It may seem as though this change in policy is a fairly trivial concern, and one not likely to make any difference to you. However, this type of minor shift can tell a story about what is happening behind the scenes at Apple. In this case, they would seem to be accepting that anti-piracy isn’t worthwhile (if people see their software worth stealing, it must be a sign that it’s good!). This puts them in a very different camp to Microsoft, who has been inventing ever more elaborate methods of protecting Windows Vista and Office in recent years.

It will be interesting to see how long companies continue the cat and mouse game of copy protection before accepting that it is a phenomenon of the software world that they will struggle to battle against.

iWork Details

At present, purchasing iWork costs $79, and includes Keynote ’09, Pages ’09 and Numbers ’09. I expect that the price will remain the same for a reasonable period on account of the new version just being released; it could be another year before any move to bundling it with a Mac is considered.

  1. Good call from Apple!
    Piracy protection is a menace to “regular” honest users and just a minor inconvenience to pirates.. who would never pay for the software anyways.
    Same goes for DRM, really crappy solution for people who just want to buy their music and listen to it on their mp3 and computer and..well pirates don’t buy music in the iTunes store do they?

    Apple also has an advantage over the MS setup in the way they bundle their OS and applications, it is more clean cut and coherent. Imagine opening a brand new Mac and have Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iTunes, Garageband, iMovie and iPhoto ready for you to use.. plus of course iCal, Safari, Mail, Address Book and Preview which integrates with all of the above. Nothing on the Windows Platform comes close.

    However, how will this be financed? Will a Mac become more expensive ($79) or will Apple settle for the customer base they draw from MS Office and subsequently the updates people buy?

    Another problem could be that software and products in general that are given away for free, tends to lose value in the eyes of the customers.

  2. Including the iWork package with a new computer still does not address the full-price upgrade policy currently in place. Of course, I doubt anyone would put off a new Mac just so they could ‘possibly’ save 79 bucks on iWork (assuming the Mac doesn’t cost more, anyway). I’d still like to see UN-bundling of both iLife and iWork. I still have no use for iDVD, iMovie, iWeb nor Numbers. And I can’t remember the last time I loaded pictures into iPhoto. But that’s just me…:-)

  3. It probably makes more economics sense to not use serial numbers, managing the serial number activation eats into the profit margin which is probably so small as it is.

  4. About bundling iWork with new Macs.

    Don’t forget that now when you buy a new Mac, you can buy iWork for $30 off (both single & family pack).

    Apple Store Link

  5. Removing the antipiracy from iWork is pure marketing genius. Why?

  6. If i am not mistaken MS boasted that 77% of mac users use MS Office and that’s a lot of ground to cover but if the Mac users have first experience experience in using iWorks and loving it and it will mean the day of reckoning for MS Office.

    This is just the beginning and I don’t believe iWorks will come bundle with a Mac for free.

    And it will be a good start for iWorks.com too, the more users the better.

  7. The more people using iWork, the less using Microsoft Office.

  8. There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

  9. I somewhat agree, I didnt like it as much though


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