• 10.24.13

Apple’s OS X Mavericks Surges Toward 6% Adoption: Report

Is Apple’s new operating system more popular because it’s free?

Apple’s OS X Mavericks Surges Toward 6% Adoption: Report
[Image: Flickr user Steve Corey]

Just 24 hours after Apple released Mavericks, its latest edition of Mac OS X, the company’s operating system is skyrocketing in downloads, according to a new report by Chitika Insights.


According to Chitika, which sampled millions of U.S. and Canadian Mac users by analyzing online ad impressions generated through its network, the report found that 5.5% of all Mac OS web traffic is now driven by Mavericks users–a rough approximate for the adoption of the operating system itself. It’s a significant figure. As Chitika’s report indicated, “[It’s] more than three times the adoption rate of OS X Mountain Lion,” which reached just a 1.6% adoption rate during the same period following its debut. Could this be because Apple’s new operating system is free?

Click to expandChart courtesy of Chitika

As we detailed this week, by making Mavericks free for Mac users, Apple is disrupting the traditional OS business model–potentially to the detriment of competitors like Microsoft. Historically, Apple sold Mac OS to its users; Mountain Lion, for example, cost $19.99. But perhaps the company realized the upside to making it free was worth more than the revenue it would have generated by charging for the product. Because the OS is free, more users are likely to download the new platform, thus mitigating fragmentation, enhancing security, and creating more app compatibility. Its software will always remain fresh, like it is on the iPhone with iOS.

Critics debate how this move could impact Microsoft, which charges $119.99 for Windows 8. At the very least, given the rapid adoption of Mavericks, it’s clear that the freemium model is generating early interest in the platform. Microsoft, on the other hand, has had difficulty getting its users to adopt Windows 8.

About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.