updated 04:55 pm EDT, Mon August 24, 2009
Piper on Snow Leopard
This week's release of Snow Leopard is more intended to undermine Windows 7 than to advance Mac OS X, argues Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster. Snow Leopard is shipping less than two months before Windows 7, and Munster notes that the former is only a "minor upgrade," a revision of Mac OS X "without many significant new features." In marketing, Apple has highlighted multi-core enhancements and support for OpenCL processing.
The OS is also expected to provide only a minor bump to Apple's bottom line, as a result of a predicted ASP (average selling price) of just $22, taking into account the heavily-discounted $29 upgrade package and the $10 Up-to-Date program for recent MacBook Pro buyers. Assuming a 60 percent gross margin and 5 million units, Apple may earn just $66 million from September sales. The product may similarly generate a low 5 cents in extra EPS, something already accounted for in Street Q4 consensus.
In reality, Munster suggests, Snow Leopard should be seen as an attempt to keep Mac OS X current, offering a choice other than Windows 7 for owners of XP and Vista. The Mac OS is now being sold in terms offering "newer technology, more frequently, for less money," according to the analyst. Apple has traditionally updated Mac OS X more rapidly than Microsoft has updated Windows; between the releases of XP and Vista, Apple shipped three key upgrades.