Joseph Thomas

The lion’s den is roaring with excitement at Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. campus. Nearly four days since Apple Inc. unveiled their newest operating system, OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, users have downloaded an astonishing 3 million copies. Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple noted this is their “most successful [OS X] release ever.”

Launched last Wednesday, Mountain Lion adoption is at an all-time high compared to former OS X releases, such as Lion, which was also distributed in the App Store for the same $19.99 price. Analysts predicted Mountain Lion’s success as early as Friday, when Chitika Insights said Mountain Lion already accounted for 3.2 percent of Mac web traffic, just two days after launch.

There are a number of reasons why users would want to upgrade: enhanced iCloud integration, AirPlay streaming for newer 2011 Macs, the new Notifications Center, voice-to-text dictation, and Facebook integration, among others. One thing is certain: Apple has finally conquered the upgrade process.

Take Note, Microsoft

Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do in this area. Upgrading Windows is never a fun – or easy – process. I’m skeptical Windows 8 will truly streamline the upgrade process, given Microsoft’s not-so-good track record. Even upgrading to Windows 7 required dozens of steps, whereas upgrading to Mountain Lion took 5-6 clicks from start to finish.

And unlike Microsoft, Apple get’s pricing. They charge a nominal fee for the latest release to get consumers on the same version. Microsoft’s strategy is quite different. They could care less about fragmentation. They’d rather make a pretty penny off upgrade sales, which cost anywhere from $90 to $220. But why should they change? Enterprises often pay the ridiculous fees, which make up a huge percentage of their market.

Upgrading Simplicity

It isn’t shocking Mountain Lion is such a huge success. It’s more about their simplistic distribution and installation than the software itself. Unlike the 3-hour Windows upgrade nightmare, upgrading to OS X 10.8 is a breeze. Grab a Margarita, click a few buttons, and viola, you’re done! Regardless of the new features, if all upgrades were this easy, fragmentation would be a thing of the past.