Leopard mauls competition, takes half Japan retail market

Apple's new OS X Leopard took a 53.9 percent share of the Japan OS market in October despite being on sale for only the last six days of the month.

Apple's new Leopard operating system took a sizable bite of the Japanese retail operating system market during October and accounted for over half of all sales of packaged operating system software despite being on sale for only the last six days of the month.

OS X Leopard, which is the first major update to the Apple operating system in more than two years, took a 53.9 percent share of the market, according to figures from Japan's BCN. The company takes point-of-sales system data from 2,200 retailers across the country and uses that to estimate nationwide sales.

The single-user license version, which costs YEN 14,700 (AU$149), accounted for a 46 percent share while the five-user "family pack," which has a YEN 22,700 price tag, had a 7.9 percent share.

The software went on sale worldwide on October 26 with sales kicking off at 6 p.m. local time in each country. Users in New Zealand and Australia got their hands on Leopard first, but Tokyo saw the first launch at an Apple retail store. About 200 people lined up in light rain to buy the software at Apple's store in the ritzy Ginza district of Tokyo. Lines also formed at other Apple stores across the country and at major electronics retailers, where special events were held to mark the start of sales.

Combined with other sales of other operating systems including Tiger, Apple had an overall 60.7 percent share of the market in October -- that's a big jump from the 15.5 percent share it had in September, which was itself the highest share Apple had managed to get so far in 2007.

While some of the kick from the launch has started to wear off, Apple remains in top place in the Japanese operating system market in November. For the week of Nov. 6 to Nov. 12 the single-user license of Leopard had a 40.4 percent share. The nearest competitor was Microsoft's Windows XP Home Edition SP2, which had a 10.5 percent share.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service

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