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Tim Cook
Tim Cook

Apple makes most of its money from hardware, not software, and the company today doubled down on that strategy with a series of aggressive pricing moves that could make Microsoft’s life a little tougher.

First, the company announced that the next version of Mac OS X, dubbed Mavericks, will be available as a free download for existing Mac users on compatible machines dating back to 2007. Then, Apple announced that the iWork and iLife apps will be available for free on new Macs in addition to iOS devices.

“We are turning the industry on its ear,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook during the company’s media event in San Francisco today.

[Related: Apple announces iPad Air, drops iPad Mini to $299]

Microsoft is offering its new Windows 8.1 update for free to existing Windows 8 users, but charges $120 to update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 7 or earlier, or $200 to upgrade to Windows 8.1 Pro from earlier versions of the operating system. The Redmond company’s company’s Office 365 suite requires a $100/year annual subscription.

As demonstrated by Apple during its event today, iWork and iLife have received visual upgrade, alongside key feature upgrades. For example, iWork for iCloud is getting Google Docs-like collaboration tools, so that multiple users can collaborate on one iWork file at once, including PC users.

“We’re not cluttering the screen with lots of controls like you see in other apps,” said Eddy Cue, Apple Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services. He noted later that the collaboration tools mean iWork users can collaborate with anyone, even a friend “who’s stuck on a PC.”

GeekWire’s Blair Hanley Frank contributed to this post.

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