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Serial upgraders: OS X customers consistently upgrade

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California-based Net Applications measures operating system and browser adoption rates by checking stats from visitors to about 40,000 Web sites. A Computerworld post today highlighted the fact that Apple's OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard), 10.7 (Lion) and 10.8 (Mountain Lion) have been adopted by Mac users at a rate about three times that of Windows 7, Microsoft's best-selling version of Windows to date.

Snow Leopard was installed on 32 percent of all Macs within five months of its launch, while Lion and Mountain Lion were at the 29 percent level after five months. With Windows 7, only 11 percent of all Windows users had upgraded at the end of five months. That number, however, dwarfs Windows Vista, which saw only a 5 percent adoption rate after five months.

Net Applications' data is showing that the uptake rate for Windows 8 appears to be about the same as Windows Vista, although that could change after the holiday buying season.

So why do Mac users consistently upgrade faster? Well, part of it could be pricing. The last three versions of OS X have been available for less than $30, while Windows upgrades are much more expensive -- an upgrade to Windows Vista Home Edition was $159 in 2007. Microsoft appears to be trying the lower-price path with a $40 deal for Windows 8 Pro upgrades that expires at the end of January 2013.

The biggest difference, though, is that most Mac users are consumers, who can choose to upgrade at any time. On the other hand, many Windows machines are located in enterprises, which tend to be very cautious about upgrading to a new OS.

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