One of the measures of the success of a computer operating system is how quickly users embrace it — that’s why Windows Vista was generally considered a bit of a flop and why Microsoft’s Windows 7 follow-up is viewed as a stronger success. When Apple launched OS X Mountain Lion last month, the company did everything it could to encourage users to jump on board, making the update available to a wide range of recent Macs as a downloadable update that only cost $20.
Ad network Chitika initially reported very strong adoption of OS X Mountain Lion, finding that 3.2 percent of traffic from Mac desktops across its ad network was from Mountain Lion systems just 48 hours after launch. Now that Mountain Lion has been out a month, however, the OS’s adoption rate seems to have calmed down a bit — but it’s still way ahead of its predecessor, Mac OS X 10.7 “Lion.” According to Chitika, as of August 27, Mountain Lion accounted for 10.3 percent of all the hits it was seeing from desktop Macs across its ad network. In contrast, Chitika count Lion took more than three months to represent 14 percent of total Mac OS X traffic.
Chitika’s figures are derived from impressions across its “extensive” advertising network, which the company claims spans more than 200,000 sites and serves up more than 4 billion ads a month. They do not represent official Mountain Lion adoption figures from Apple. The only official word from Apple on Mountain Lion sales is that the operating system sold more than three million copies in its first four days of availability.
Although Mountain Lion has generally received positive reviews, it has also been criticized for adopting too many elements from Apple’s iOS — although it’s important to note that Apple has many millions more customers using iOS than Mac OS X, at this point. Chitika speculates that the rapid adoption of Mountain Lion may have more to do with the low price point and the easy online distribution model Apple has adopted for the release. Ultimately, quick adoption of Mountain Lion and desktop operating systems means Apple can innovate the Macintosh more quickly with less concern about long-term support for legacy systems.