Macgasm is reporting that Apple is in the process of notifying some MobileMe users of a new initiative wherein they can receive a free copy of OS X Snow Leopard. This program is aimed at users running older versions of Mac OS X, and will allow them to upgrade to Lion, which fully utilizes iCloud, at a reduced cost.
OS X Lion is primarily distributed through the Mac App Store, and users need at least Snow Leopard installed in order to access the Mac App Store. Before this program was initiated, someone wishing to upgrade from say, Leopard, would have to buy and install Snow Leopard for $29, and then buy, download, and install Lion from the Mac App store for $29.99. This is a relatively expensive upgrade path just to switch from MobileMe to iCloud.
It’s worth remembering that MobileMe is set to shut down on June 30th, over a year from the time that iCloud was introduced. Additionally, Snow Leopard remains on sale in Apple’s online store for $29. This suggests that Apple is only offering this program to MobileMe subscribers, and not to the general public.
Apple certainly needed to do something for the handful of devoted MobileMe subscribers. That service was so bad, they shouldn’t have charged for it.