Operating systems optimize

Mountain Lion most successful release in Apple history

Erik Eckel breaks down the numbers of Mountain Lion's huge success and puts in perspective Apple's continued surge. Has it peaked or is further growth ahead?

Apple users downloaded the OS X Mountain Lion operating system more than three million times in just its first four days. In a news release Apple stated the OS' popularity made it the most successful release in its history.

Mountain Lion's success is due in part to the simplicity and reliability for which Apple systems have long been known. But some 200 new features don't hurt either, including:

  • AirPlay Mirroring refinements improve sending what's on a Mac display to a larger monitor connected to an Apple TV.
  • Auto Save makes it easier to protect data from accidental loss and makes it possible to change the name of a file from directly within the title bar.
  • Sharing is now built in to many Mountain Lion apps.
  • A new date picker enables easier changing of event dates within Calendar, while Notification Center displays information for new emails, messages and event reminders, among other notifications.
  • Mountain Lion supports Dictation, enabling OS X users to enter text using their voice by leveraging the microphone built in to their Macs.
  • Gatekeeper helps protect against malware infections
  • iCloud improvements make it easier to set up and manage files "in the cloud."

Other improvements include encrypted messaging, Notes synchronization across multiple devices, and more robust Reminders.

The OS' reviews are consistent. Numerous sites bestow high ratings on the release, while Macworld awards Mountain Lion 4.5 out of 5 "Mice." With almost 10,000 consumer reviews, the release more than holds its own with a solid four out of five star rating. Even PCMag.com ranks the OS high, awarding an Excellent four-and-a-half out of five to Apple's new OS.

Business trends

It's telling that, in a tough economy, Apple's revenues continue impressing Wall Street. The company's third quarter results revealed the company sold 17 million iPads and four million Macs. Those sales helped fuel quarterly net profit of $8.8 billion. Microsoft, meanwhile, was busy announcing a quarterly loss of $492 million.

To be fair, it was Redmond's first loss ever as a public company, but it's no secret PC manufacturers have been struggling. Businesses are increasingly turning to Apple products, whether it's for Smartphones, laptops, desktops, or tablet computers.

Apple's market value ($592 billion) now exceeds that of Microsoft ($252 billion), Dell ($21 billion) and HP ($38 billion) combined. Combined. Think about that. Heck, you could even add heavyweight IBM to the PC companies' mix ($226 billion) and Apple still exceeds the value of all those companies combined.

That's impressive.

Apple's figured out what business users require: powerful, capable, reliable products that are easy to use and that make data available across multiple devices without requiring a rocket science degree. Even anecdotally the manufacturer's popularity is growing. While numerous surveys award Apple only minority market share, at a recent non-technology-related management conference with hundreds of business users present I noted fully half of the laptops and tablets attendees were using were Macs or iPads. More importantly, many of the Windows machines I saw were inexpensive, sub $500 units, a segment in which Apple doesn't even bother competing. Certainly, Apple technologies are enjoying increased adoption among business executives and managers.

Expect more of the same. Microsoft, readying to renew the fight with its new Windows 8 OS, may face a greater challenge than anticipated. Already headlines warn that the OS will prove difficult, proclaiming "Innovative Windows 8 forces steep learning curve." Apparently only Apple has learned that innovation need not come at the expense of approachability and ease of use.

About

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

13 comments
Sol Lake
Sol Lake

Apple technologies are enjoying increased adoption among business executives and managers. condo life magazine

HypnoToad72
HypnoToad72

I'll wait for 10.8.1 before upgrading, but initial reports suggest it is restoring battery life to SL levels... something 10.7.x never did...

brwills
brwills

Apple will sell an upgrade for cheap (I saw $20 online). They do these small upgrades and charge a small amount. Windows by comparison will go from one version of Windows to another (Win Vista to Win 7) and charge a couple hundred dollars. People don't like paying large amounts up front. They would rather pay small increments even though the end result is the same (i.e. they pay the same in the end). I know for me I can pay for many small amounts for games and or apps and my wife does not seem to notice, but she would notice if I spent a $100 in one shot. Cheers.

David.Campion
David.Campion

Surely a big reason for the success of the OSX upgrades is that they are relatively cheap. Couple this with the fact there is no major learning curve when you go to a new version, if there are a few new features that look interesting I think people are happy to upgrade.

L0rdG1gabyt3
L0rdG1gabyt3

I'm sure one major thing that spurred the sales of Mountain Lion was the disappointment of Lion. Ive talked to many Apple users that were unimpressed with Lion in respect to Snow Leopard before it. My MacBook Pro will stay at SL until the hardware fails.

evansdg1
evansdg1

Couldn't agree more that this is blatant Apple marketing blurb and doesn't say anything worth writing. Didn't find the bit about "Has it peaked or is further growth ahead?" or couldn't you bring yourself to write something negative ?

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

Was this article written by the Apple marketing department?

Gisabun
Gisabun

Considering that many Mac users were avoiding 10.7 because of problems that plagued it [it was only in the last few months that 10.7 installs overtook 10.6 installs] and the fact that 10.6 support is either dead or will die shortly, it's not surprised that 10.8 is doing well.

don.howard
don.howard

But I might point out that I as an individual can install the OSX update on every Mac I own, for the same $20, instead of $100 per system. I personally think this high incremental cost is why most home users never upgrade the Windows OS to new versions. It is much easier to swallow if it is spread out in x number of easy payments.

Bishop234
Bishop234

Add to that the difficulty with spotlight(or any other 3rd party) searches on NTFS drives and you have another reason to stay with SL. I wish I had. My home server is Windows Home Server and I can swipe/scroll like gangbusters, but a search will turn up nothing.... You can do some command line hacks and commands and get it to work, but I am not a unix guy, I need my graphical interface...

Bishop234
Bishop234

I don't notice ANY difference outside of the iCal opening up every time and having to reinstall my Parallels. A waste of 19.99 so far....