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Leopard gets love, Vista gets dissed

The latest report from Rockville, Md.-based ChangeWave Research reflects customer satisfaction running in opposite directions for Vista and Leopard, the newest version of the Mac operating system.

An amazing 81 percent of customers of those who purchased a Mac in the previous 90 days said they were "very satisfied" with it. This compares to 27 percent of PC buyers who got Vista Home Premium on their new PC and a pathetic 15 percent of those who bought PCs with Vista Home Basic pre-installed.

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According to the ChangeWave report, "Leopard's high customer satisfaction not only dwarfs its competitors, but it's having a direct impact on customer intentions to purchase an Apple computer. More than one-in-four respondents (26 percent) say the Leopard OS makes them more likely to buy an Apple computer in the future."

Seemingly contradicting the IDC and Gartner reports released earlier in the week that showed the Mac's market share slipping a bit from the third quarter to the fourth, the ChangeWave data showed an increase in Mac buyers. Of those who bought a computer in the past 90 days, 17 percent (up from 14 percent) said they bought a Mac laptop and 16 percent (up from 10 percent) said they bought a Mac desktop.

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Looking ahead, of those respondents who said they planned a PC purchase in the next 90 days, 33 percent said they'd buy a Mac laptop and 29 percent a Mac desktop. The laptop number is up from 29 percent in November and from 20 percent a year ago. And that survey was taken before the MacBook Air was announced.

The Mac's desktop number of planned purchases stayed the same (it was also 29 percent in the November survey), but has risen from 18 percent in the January 2006 survey.

But why does the Mac do so much better in the ChangeWave surveys than in the more conventional measures of market share conducted by IDC and Gartner? The data from those surveys put the Mac's fourth quarter market share at about 6 percent.

The Mac excels in the ChangeWave data because in this particular survey, the focus is on consumer purchases rather than overall PC purchases. Removing corporate buying from the equation shows just how much progress the Mac has made with the average PC consumer.

Meanwhile, dissatisfaction with Windows Vista has grown so severe that tech Web site InfoWorld has launched a petition to Microsoft to keep selling its predecessor, Windows XP, past the planned June 30, 2008 deadline.

"Millions of us have grown comfortable with XP and don't see a need to change to Vista," InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman writes. "It's like having a comfortable apartment that you've enjoyed coming home to for years, only to get an eviction notice."

Well, as a Mac user I can't explain the love for Windows XP, but apparently lot of Windows users share Gruman's sentiments – 30,000 had signed the online petition as of 5 p.m. Jan. 17.

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