Apple Computer (AAPL)
says sales for the recently released Mac OS 8 have exceeded
expectations by fourfold.
Since the product's July 26 release, over 1.2 million copies have been
sold, giving the operating system the most successful sales performance ever
for an Apple software product, the company says.
Ironically, this buying frenzy is taking place without any participation from the most vigorous players in the Macintosh market right now, the clone vendors. Given the popularity of the product, Macintosh clone manufacturers Motorola, Umax Computer Group, and Power Computing are eager to ship systems
with Mac OS 8.
The clone makers have been
wrangling with Apple over how much they should pay to license the new
operating system and have not yet signed formal contracts. The companies
might soon start shipping the OS based on prior licensing agreements, however. (See related story)
Nevertheless, copies are leaping off of the shelves. "We sold 2,000 copies in the first four days. It's probably the fastest-selling product we've ever had...Between that, the Microsoft announcement,
and the board realignment, it's the best week Apple's had from a public
relations perspective in a long while," says Darryl Peck, president and CEO
of Cyberian Outpost, one of the
largest Internet retailers of computer-related products.
Mac OS 8's success comes at a critical point for Apple, as the company
attempts to reshape itself and rebuild consumer confidence in its product
In the meantime, retail stores are also benefiting from increased sales.
"It's the best-selling new product we've ever had. We sold 3,500 copies
since it was first released. In the first four days, we were selling a copy
a minute," said Jeff Walker, vice president of retail sales at ComputerWare, the nation's largest independent Mac dealer.
The new software has had the positive side-effect of raising customers' interest in Mac and Mac-compatible systems while they are in the store.
"It has boosted traffic in stores. Over the first weekend of its release, we
had triple the normal traffic, and we are still experiencing heavier-than-normal summer traffic," Walker said. As an added benefit, ComputerWare
experienced increased memory sales along with sales of the new OS.
Among the most noticeable features, the new system's user interface reduces
screen clutter when many applications and files are being displayed at once.
The new OS also has a multi-threaded finder that allows users to copy
chunks of data while performing other tasks. Previously, users had to wait
for file functions to finish before doing other tasks. Apple says it has
also worked to increase the stability of the system software--a
program suddenly quitting won't force a restart--and the speed of functions
such as copying files.
At the Macworld Expo in Boston, consumer demand for the new operating system
has been equally high, according to the two computer retailers selling it there.
On the first two days of the convention, ComputerTown sold over 800
copies at its booth, and "could have sold more" if they hadn't run out of
stock, according to Tim Reinold, director of retail sales for the
Boston-based computer store chain. "It's helped make the show a success for
Sales from ComputerTown's retail stores have also been phenomenal. "When we
first got copies, we had lines out the door," recalled Reinold. "I think
it's going to be successful for the next three to four months, until the next
version of the Mac OS comes out." Today, on the last day of the show,
ComputerTown was bringing in 1,800 extra copies to help fulfill demand.
MicroCenter, the other major retail vendor selling Mac OS 8 at the expo,
has completely sold out its stock. The new software is selling "much, much
faster" than Mac OS 7.6.1, the previous major release, according to Andrew
Parker, acting general manager of MicroCenter. The show is also fueling
sales of Mac-related products at the company's local stores, noted Parker.
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