OSX vs. Windows Upgrade Rates

Earlier, we discussed the upgrade rates that Microsoft is seeing with Windows 8. Unfortunately, those are starting to characterize the operating system as more of a Vista lemon than a Windows 7 success. Infoworld reports that Apple doesn’t seem to have the same problem with OSX, however.

The last three versions of Apple’s desktop operating system have been adopted at a rate almost three times that of the best-performing edition of Windows, 2009’s Windows 7.

In the first five months of OS X 10.6, 10.7 and 10.8 availability — known as Snow Leopard, Lion and Mountain Lion, respectively — nearly a third of all Mac owners upgraded to the newest edition, according to California-based Internet metrics firm Net Applications.

Five months after its 2009 launch, Snow Leopard powered 32 percent of all Macs, while Lion and Mountain Lion, which debuted in 2011 and 2012, each accounted for 29 percent of all Mac machines by the end of their fifth month.

That’s in contrast to Microsoft Windows, which has had varied success in the same time span: At the end of its fifth month, Windows 7 accounted for 11 percent of all Windows PCs, more than twice the 5 percent share of Vista two years earlier.

Windows 8, which shipped in late October 2012, looks to be on theĀ same usage uptake trajectory as Vista, although that could, of course, change in the upcoming months.

The article goes on to speculate that some of this has to do with price. The latest upgrade to Mountain Lion cost existing users only about $20. Having been a long-time Windows user who recently switched to Macs running OSX, I think that’s only part of the puzzle, however. The other part is that the Apple AppStore makes the process relatively easy. No ordering new DVDs from a retailer, etc. Simply click and install. Billing is handled by credit card through your existing account. Easy-peasy.

It’s important to note that both operating systems have suffered setbacks from unstable releases. Windows Vista was characterized by many people as unstable early on in the rollout, which caused many people to think twice before going through the process. Similarly, the latest version of OSX, 10.8.x (aka, Mountain Lion) has been been criticized for major bugs in the WiFi stack. Still, Apple seems to have made the upgrade process easier and cheaper which has clearly increased uptake.

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