Apple’s Snow Leopard Sales Are Hot

Sales of Apple’s OS X Snow Leopard operating system are booming at retail, according to market research firm NPD Group.

The firm’s retail-tracking service reported that Snow Leopard has sold more than twice the number of units sold of Apple’s previous Leopard release during its first two weeks on the market. Snow Leopard’s sales are also almost four times higher than Leopard’s predecessor, Tiger.

“A big part of it is price,” Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, told “Clearly if you’re aggressive on price these days, you’re going to be rewarded with a lot of volume, whether it’s Apple, netbooks or many other products.”

Baker noted that compared to Leopard’s pricing, Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) reduced the price of Snow Leopard by more than $100 for both the single-user and five-user pack. The single-user upgrade price for Snow Leopard is $29, while the Family Pack — a single household, five-user license — is available for $49.

“The lower price was a way to get people’s attention and drive sales for what’s considered less of a crucial upgrade,” Baker said. “It worked.”

While there are a number of smaller feature improvements in Snow Leopard, its big selling point is better stability and performance.

The news comes at a time when Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) gears up a marketing blitz for its new Windows 7 operating system, due out Oct. 22. Microsoft yesterday announced a special, limited time discount that will make the Windows 7 upgrade available for $29.99 to students.

That’s a significant discount, since the upgrade to Windows 7 Home Premium is set at $120 at retail. Students also have the option of choosing Windows 7 Professional at the same discounted price; that version is slated to sell for just under $200.

Baker doesn’t think Microsoft’s cuts were a response to Apple’s pricing. “I don’t think there’s a relation,” he said. “The $29 price is nice, but it’s a very limited promotion by Microsoft.”

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