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Mac OS X Lion installation stats bode well for digital distribution

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Mac OS X Lion

Apple’s (s aapl) latest desktop operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, is doing well in its early days, nearing the almost four-year old OS X 10.5 Leopard in popularity, according to new OS market share numbers released Thursday by Net Applications. Mac OS X 10.5 Snow Leopard, released in mid-2009, is still the most popular version of the Apple desktop operating system out there with 3.46 of the overall market.

In just a month since its release, Lion has a 1.03 percent share of the overall desktop OS picture, while Leopard is still in use by 1.17 percent of Internet visitors, 160 million of which are the source of the Net Applications data. Snow Leopard and Leopard both gave ground to the newer operating system, dropping from 4 and 1.24 percent percent shares respectively in August, while Lion’s cut rose from just 0.33 percent.

When compared to the adoption of previous new versions of OS X, Lion adoption is already ahead of the curve. Snow Leopard, for example, saw only 0.78 percent share after its first full month of availability, passing 1 percent during its second month on the market. Both cost $29.99 on release, but the difference this time could be the digital distribution of Lion through the Mac App Store, which may have led more customers to upgrade earlier. At the very least, it shows that opting for the App Store as a primary delivery vehicle for major software upgrades (albeit with pricey physical media backup options) isn’t having a negative effect on Lion adoption.

8 Responses to “Mac OS X Lion installation stats bode well for digital distribution”

  1. I wondered if the numbers were going to be skewed correctly. Looks like, not! Also I see the straight OS comparison, as mentioned above. What are they afraid of showing, how many people there are on the MacOS that can’t or will not migrate? There’s a lot. I find it disturbing the way Apple pretends that once something reaches EOL, it’s as if it never existed.

    OSX 10.5.8 and happy to be here.

  2. Lion’s media-less distribution is less about the triumph of Lion than the triumph of instant gratification over good sense, i.e. wait until a new OS stabilizes. Lion is brimming with bugs and features that are at best eye candy and at worst useless or counterproductive. SL is an upgrade by comparison.

  3. David Mobley

    So what you’re saying is that when given no choices or alternatives, the single point of distribution for a product is successful. Isn’t this a given?

    If there were a physical option from day 1 in-stores as well as from or any other number of outlets, would we be calling the App Store Lion Download “successful” or would we see how many people when given the choice would opt for physical media? Not really a question we can answer in this scope, because the option wasn’t around. People did what they had to do.

    Digital Distribution is gaining ground over retail sales, but unless you compare physical to digital you don’t get any real perspective. Comparing digital to “suck it” isn’t a real way to evaluate anything.

  4. Cold Water

    Yes, a completely smooth transition without media… unless you bought a new Mac from the Apple Store—one month after release—and it still shipped with Snow Leopard. The Up to Date program was a disaster, so it took over a week and several hours on the phone with AppleCare to get a redemption code. We all know there was an easy way around this.