Apple's Snow Leopard OS X update has been outselling previous Apple operating systems, Leopard and Tiger, during its first two weeks of release, according to the NPD Group. The research firm's report asks whether Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7, due to be released Oct. 22, will enjoy a similar uptake in sales and adoption.
sales of its Snow Leopard OS X update are outpacing those of its previous
operating system releases, Leopard and Tiger, according to an analysis by
research firm the NPD Group.
The NPD Group's tracking service estimates that Snow Leopard is outselling the
original Leopard by a 2-to-1 margin, and outselling Tiger by 4-to-1, during the
two weeks since its Aug. 28 release.
Despite the upswell of publicity surrounding its release, Snow
Leopard boasts relatively few flashy aesthetic improvements over Leopard,
but it does offer a number of under-the-hood refinements. Mail loads in
half the time as in Leopard, Apple asserts, while Time Machine's initial backup
is 80 percent faster. It also requires 7GB less space on the hard drive than
In order to propagate a rapid dissemination, Apple priced Snow Leopard at
$29 for Mac OS X Leopard users; those purchasing a Mac between June 8 and Dec.
26 will be able to buy a Snow Leopard upgrade package for $9.95.
"Apple has clearly demonstrated that aggressive pricing policies in
this economic environment generate an outstanding consumer response,"
Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, said in a Sept. 17
statement. "As we head into the fall selling season, and the release of
another major OS upgrade, it will be instructive to see if that upgrade-currently
projected to sell at ASPs much higher than Snow Leopard-can deliver the same
incremental increase in consumer demand that Snow Leopard has enjoyed."
The research firm's numbers suggest that Snow Leopard has some momentum,
with sales declining around 25 percent between its first and second weeks of
release. By comparison, sales for both Leopard and Tiger had declined by 60
percent by those operating systems' respective second week of release. Apple
itself has not yet released sales figures.
In a separate report, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster previously
forecasted that Snow Leopard would sell 5 million copies through the end
The other "major OS upgrade" to which Baker refers is presumably
Windows 7, which is scheduled for general release Oct. 22.
Faced with a declining revenue trend in the face of weak PC sales and a
still-moribund economy, Microsoft has been ramping up what promises to be a
massive marketing push to promote its new operating system. In
addition to conventional methods such as television advertising, Microsoft
has launched marketing maneuvers over
the past few weeks aimed at IT administrators and procurement specialists
within the enterprise.
In addition to targeting the consumer market, Microsoft would like Windows 7
to help Redmond keep its lock on
end-user IT infrastructure within the enterprise. A Forrester Research report
in early 2009 found that, while the Mac adoption rate for businesses in Europe
and North America had declined to 3 percent by the end
of 2008, Microsoft
held 95 percent of that market.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.