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Mac claims more Japan OS sales than Windows

updated 10:50 am EST, Tue November 13, 2007

Mac Up Win Down in Japan

Microsoft's has taken a bruising in the Japanese marketplace just as Apple's Mac OS X Leopard was released, according to a new report by the country's Business Computer News. The publication notes that while sales of Mac OS X increased dramatically between September and October, climbing from a rate of 15.5 percent year-over-year to 60.5 percent, Microsoft suffered from the reverse effect. Sales growth of Windows plummeted from 75.3 percent to 28.7 percent. The sudden switch provided Apple with about 53.9 of the total OS-only marketshare in Japan during October -- a breakthrough for the company, BCN says.

Although the results are expected to cool in the wake of Leopard's release, the reversal highlights several factors that provide Mac users a stronger incentive to upgrade outside of their normal computer replacement schedule than for Windows users, the report says. Microsoft is charging more for Vista in Japan, offering the upgrade-only Vista Home Premium package for 19,600 Yen ($179) and 30,300 Yen ($276) for a full version; Apple's full standard OS sells for 14,700 Yen ($134). Pricing for the Mac version is also less intimidating and includes just a single version compared to the several full and upgrade copies of Vista buyers encounter in the store when updating their systems. Less stringent minimum requirements for Leopard compared to Vista upon their respective launches are also said to improve the appeal of the Mac OS.

This validates Apple's strategy of releasing OS updates at shorter intervals and generates "muzzle velocity" for the Mac's adoption in Japan, BCN says. The publication also notes the sharp increase is more than 10 points stronger than the growth in Mac OS X sales triggered by the release of Tiger in April 2005 and that Apple sold 2 million copies of Leopard in its first weekend on sale versus multiple weeks to reach the same threshold for the earlier software.

Japan has frequently been cited as one of the most difficult markets to breach in the world today, with a rapid decline in overall computer sales forcing Hitachi out of the market entirely and numerous other PC vendors turning to alternate computer designs such as Sharp's Internet AQUOS. Apple has posted modest gains in shipments of Macs to the country but has seen its revenue decline as customers opt for lower-cost systems.

by MacNN Staff





  1. njfuzzy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I take things like this as signs that a real change in the OS landscape is coming.

    Yes, it is only Japan.

    Yes, it is only OS-only, not systems.

    Yes, it's a bare margin of victory in one short time period.

    One at a time, we will see milestones passed.

  1. BelugaShark

    Joined: Dec 1969



    That is amazing! I didn't expect that much change.

  1. tc1000

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Been saying it for years

    By 2010, Apple will have a 50 percent market share in the US.

    And I'm going to collect on all those bets I made.

  1. gudin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well. . . . Leopard was released during that time period. Vista wasn't. So it doesn't all that much really, though it is always good that Apple is doing better.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: leopard

    Oh, sure, leave it to MS fan-box gudin to try to bring logic into the discussion. Especially before I get a chance to!

  1. koolkid1976

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: leopard

    An increase for OS X from 15.5% to 60.5% during the time Leopard was released may not be that significant by itself. Add in the fact that Microsoft plumeted from 75.3% to 28.7% and suddenly it is. It looks like a direct loss in sales. I'm sure sales of Windows didn't plumet here in the U.S. it likely remained constant. How's that for logic testudo?

  1. jimothy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Testudo and Gudin

    MacNN, and the author of the original article (sorry, my Japanese isn't so hot, so I can't name who that is), beat you both to that point:

    "Although the results are expected to cool in the wake of Leopard's release...."

    Maybe you're not as clever as you think you are.

  1. tomodachi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    logic + testudo |= compute

    What little Testicles is completely ignoring is that Apple's probably NEVER done that (i.e., outsold Windows over a one-month period) with OSX before, in the US or Japan. But, since downplaying any Apple achievement is how he floats his boat, I say just let him be :p

  1. gudin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: testudo

    That was my goal, to preempt testudo.

    As to the drop in MS sales, I agree, that's a fairly big deal, though I am not sure when they started the "free upgrade to Vista" program last year. If they started it during that time period, or slightly before, then that may indicate that last year's numbers were an artificial bump for them too.

    And as a counterpoint to my own argument, Leopard only was available for the last five days of the period, and there may have been a drop in sales of the OS before that because of the impending new release. . . so it's possible that it balanced out a little more than I suggested.

    I'm debating myself now.

  1. gudin

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: me again

    OK, so apparently the free upgrade to Vista program started exactly 1 year before the release of Leopard. Oct 26, 2006. As I don't think there were lines in front of any PC dealerships, I doubt that that had much impact for those 5 days. Therefore, the drop in MS OS sales is a much bigger deal.

    my $.019 CDN

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