OS X Mavericks Adoption Slows; Snow Leopard Holdouts Stubbornly Hang On

Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer reports that OS X Mavericks’ uptake slowed significantly in December, delaying on Apple’s plan to move customers to the new – free – operating system. Keizer cites data from Web metrics company Net Applications that shows a fragmentation of the Mac OS market, with three older OS X editions — OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, which dates back to 2009, as well as OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion each holding on to a roughly 20 percent share of the OS X deployment, with each accounting for between one-sixth and one-fourth of the current Mac user base.

At the end of November, 32 percent of all Macs tracked online by Net Applications were already running OS X Mavericks, a 21-point increase over the month prior. However in December, Mavericks gained just 5 percentage points, climbing to a 37 percent share, Keizer notes.

These metrics don’t surprise your editor. I am still running Snow Leopard and Mountain Lion on my 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo MacBook, not to mention OS X 10.4 Tiger on my two ging on 14-year-old Pismo PowerBooks that are still in active service. I do have Mavericks on my new Haswell 13-inch MacBook Air, but I’m not particularly impressed with it, and still like Snow Leopard best of the three OSs, save for being shut out of some recent applications that demand OS 10.7 Lion or later. So far, I find little enticing about Mavericks by comparison.

Interestingly, Gregg Keizer notes that the bulk of Mavericks’ December gain was at the expense of Mountain Lion, which fell 2.5 percentage points, and Lion, which dropped 1.4 points, while OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard again resisted major defections, losing just 0.7 points in December to slip to 19.5 percent of all editions usage. He observces that Snow Leopard holdouts have stubbornly stuck with their greybeard operating system — which evidently has seen its final security update, being passed over in Apple’s latest tranche of sercurity patches issued. The dogged loyalty of Snow Leopard holdouts is no doubt largely attributable to its being the last version of OS X to support “Carbin” applications compiled for the PowerPC processor, and the last version supporting many Macs made before 2008.

Overall, in December, Mavericks accounted for 37 percent of OS X versions in use, Mountain Lion 22 percent, Snow Leopard 19.5 percent, and Lion 16.3 percent — a fragmentionly that Keizer says was exatly what Apple was hoping to solve by making Mavericks free. Memo to Apple: When you make life more difficult rather than easier and better with an OS upgrade, don’t be surprised that everyone doesn’t get into line. I don’t anticipate upgrading my MacBook past Mountain Lion, and will conmtinue using Snow Leopard to access Carbon productivity applications as long as is practical. I don’t
like fullscreen app views and am not inchanted with the iOSsification of OS X, and it appears that I have plenty of like-minded company.

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