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Wednesday, December 30, 2009, 07:20 am PT (10:20 am ET)

Sales of Apple's iWork office suite surge 50% in 2009

Apple's iWork software suite, in both standalone and box set SKUs, had a strong 2009, particularly in the wake of the launch of Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard in August.

According to the NPD Group, iWork 2009 sold 50 percent more units in its first 11 months on the market, from January to November 2009, than its predecessor, iWork 2008, sold in the same frame. iLife 2009, during the 11-month frame, sold about the same number of units as iLife 2008. iLife is included with all new Macs.

Both can also be purchased along with the Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard upgrade in a $169 box set for a single user, or $229 family pack. Volume increases for iWork and iLife do not include the bundle pack sales.

But the strength of Snow Leopard has helped the box set to have strong sales as well, Steven Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, told AppleInsider.

"These have been, I think, pretty successful products for them (Apple), generating a lot of pretty decent average selling prices and decent revenue numbers," Baker said.

In addition, the single-user license box sets for iWork have been a big seller for Apple. iWork and iLife are available separately with a $79 single user license for each, or a $99 family pack that can be installed on up to five computers.

When it debuted in August, Snow Leopard retailed for just $29. The lower pricing strategy has proved well for Apple

"They've been pretty successful, obviously, with being more aggressive in pricing," Baker said. "Certainly that was a big reason why Snow Leopard got such a big uptick right off the bat."

At launch, Snow Leopard saw sales twice as strong as its predecessor, Leopard, and four times better than Tiger. In addition, Apple's new operating system only saw sales decrease by 25 percent in its second week. For comparison, Leopard and Tiger saw sales drop more than 60 percent in the week following their launch. In the company's earnings report in October, Apple officials noted they were "pleasantly surprised by the early success of Snow Leopard.