OS X Mountain Lion, or version 10.8 as it’s known according to Apple’s numbering system, accounted for 32 percent of all web traffic measured by Net Applications, a firm that charts OS share and other web metrics. This marks the first time Mountain Lion has accounted for a majority share of web traffic from Apple computers, with Lion dropping down to 28 percent.
In November, Mountain Lion only just trailed Lion, with 29 percent of web traffic, vs. 30 percent for Lion. Snow Leopard use actually remained relatively steady between November and December, losing less than a percentage point and suggesting that most of the Mountain Lion upgraders are coming from Lion, and not jumping up two versions. Mountain Lion requires that Lion be installed in order to upgrade (unless you have a USB stick version of 10.8), so it makes sense that the pool of upgraders is coming from Lion, where there are relatively few barriers to upgrading (it’s handled directly through the Mac App Store).
Snow Leopard continues to be very tenacious, with a 29 percent share of Mac web traffic, which makes it the second-most frequently used version of OS X over even Lion. But Mountain Lion’s growth is still impressive, and it seems to be attracting users faster than Lion was ever able to. Lion took until May 2012 to overcome Snow Leopard in terms of share of web traffic as measured by Net Applications, meaning it required nearly 10 months to unseat Snow Leopard as the dominant Mac OS. By contrast, Mountain Lion took around five months to reach the top spot, or about half the time.
Speedy adoption of new OS X versions is key to keeping a solid software ecosystem in place, and lessening headaches for developers both internal and external. That makes this particular development promising news for Apple, especially now that they’re on an annual update cycle for OS X, which makes getting people on the newest version as quickly as possible even more crucial.