Apple's Snow Leopard OS snares Amazon top sales spots

It's not due out until September, but pre-orders lead software bestseller list

Pre-orders for Apple's upcoming Snow Leopard operating system topped Amazon.com's bestseller list Monday, just days after the online retail giant put Mac OS X 10.6 on its site.

As of 3 p.m. ET, the $29 Snow Leopard and the $49 Snow Leopard Family Pack were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on Amazon's software sales chart. The $49 Family Pack provides licenses for five Macs.

Apple won't release the new operating system until September, a fact that Amazon made sure to remind customers. "You may pre-order it now and we will deliver it to you when it arrives," Amazon said on the Snow Leopard sales pages.

Although Windows 7, also slated for a fall release, had grabbed the lead spot on Amazon's software bestseller list when two editions were heavily discounted during a two-week sale earlier this summer, Microsoft's new OS was absent from the chart today. The Apple rival's best showing was Office Home and Student 2007, a $149.95 version of the popular Windows application suite that Amazon's selling for just $79.99, at No. 3.

Apple announced Snow Leopard's pricing nearly two months ago at its annual developers conference, when it said it would sell the OS for just $29, rather than the $129 it has charged in the past. "Leopard was $129 but we want all Leopard users to upgrade to Snow Leopard, so we're pricing it at $29," said Craig Federighi, the vice president of Mac OS engineering, at the time.

Snow Leopard was introduced in June 2008, when Apple touted it as a performance and stability update that would "take a break" from major new features.

The Snow Leopard upgrade requires an Intel-based Mac and Mac OS X 10.5, aka Leopard; users running Mac OS X 10.4, known as Tiger, must instead purchase the more expensive "Mac Box Set," which Amazon is also selling as a pre-order. A single-license box set is priced at $169, and includes Snow Leopard, iLife and iWork -- the last being Apple's productivity suite. A five-license box set retails for $229.

By comparison, Microsoft last week announced it would sell a three-license family pack of Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade for $149.99 starting Oct. 22. The least-expensive version of a single-license for Windows 7 is the $119.99 for Home Premium Upgrade.

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