Tracking Apple's Leopard: It's pretty fast

A sales update on the new Mac OS.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published December 18, 2007 8:36PM (EST)

Apple released Mac OS X Leopard on the last Friday of October, and in a couple of days it sold 2 million copies. Respectable, certainly: In 2005, Apple took four weeks to sell 2 million copies of Tiger, its previous OS. (The numbers represent sales of stand-alone OSes -- they don't count people who got Leopard or Tiger as part of a purchase of a new Mac.)

In the nearly two months since Leopard's launch, though, there have been few updates on sales figures, and as Wired News' Bryan Gardiner notes, "some began to speculate Leopard may have been a cat built for speed and not necessarily endurance."

But apparently not. Chris Swensen, an analyst at the market research firm NPD Group, now tells Apple Insider that in November, the first complete month in which Leopard has been available, sales of the new OS were 20 percent higher than sales of Tiger in May 2005, the first complete month of sales for that OS.

So Leopard's doing pretty well -- indeed, as some see it, Leopard's launch marks Apple's best OS release ever. Good for Apple.

Not for nothing, when Microsoft released Windows XP in 2001, it sold about 8 million copies in its first full month to computer makers and end users. And like Apple, when it released Windows Vista earlier this year, it also beat sales of its previous OS. Microsoft says it sold 20 million licenses of Windows Vista in February 2007.

That number was disputed by some analysts. But then Microsoft put up numbers to silence them -- from early March to early May, it sold an additional 20 million copies of Vista.

And they call Vista a failure.

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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