Canonical, the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project has made great strides in making a go at Microsoft Windows’ market share. Indeed, in its recent filings with the SEC, Microst admitted facing a somewhat stiff competition from the world’s most popular Linux distro. The story however, is different with regards to Apple’s Mac OS. I strongly believe that Canonical’s Mac OS strategy is not working. This is because the underlying assumption beheind the strategy is flawed.
Mac computers are hugely expensive and anybody that goes in to buy a Mac computer is not someone that considers cost in buying a computer. Most Mac users are people that have seen a certain perceived value in the extra cash they pay for a Mac computer as against what they would have paid for a Windows PC.
Mac OS users are more of a premium market type that are prepared to pay and use an OS which they believe gives them extra value for an extra amount of money. They want something that is not common and “cheap” and will pay a premium price for it. Such people do not consider the monetary cost of what they use but rather the perceived extra satisfaction they get from paying a premium price.
It is in this regard that I think Canonical is getting it wrong about stealing some of Mac OS market share. To promote Ubuntu to a Mac OS user as being cheap and free will simply not sell. Such people do not care about cost. There should be a different way of telling Mac OS users about what makes Ubuntu an alternative to Mac OS other than Windows without sacrifing the perception of quality that they are used to paying a premium price for.
There is no doubt that Ubuntu is a powerful alternative to both Windows and Mac OS, a fact that most Windows users attest to after trying Ubuntu, but that message must be wrapped differently in order to deliver to Mac OS users. Canonical must not focus solely on the monetary cost of Ubuntu as a wedge to use in penetrating the Mac OS market. The theme of the strategy must rather focus on the core strengths of Ubuntu that will appeal to Mac users. That I think will help make Ubuntu more appealing to Mac users than the current strategy of focusing on the monetary cost alone.
Do you have any ideas on how to market Ubuntu to Mac OS users? Share your thoughts.