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Apple didn’t pick a fight w/ Safari on Windows…think about it…

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safari1.jpgYou know, it’s amazing how opinions differ between people. As I sit here, having just read this article from Computer World, I’m almost dumbfounded that it was even written. As I read this five page opus (complete with giant, obtrusive, advertising on each page), I can’t help but question the logic of the piece.

The primary point of the article is that Safari on Windows will fail.

I don’t disagree with that.

If Apple was truly looking to run in and take over the browser business on Windows, there is no way that Apple could dethrone Internet Explorer, or even Firefox. It’s not going to happen. Not now…not ever….but seriously, I want everyone reading this to raise your hand if you think that’s what Apple is doing.

Now, the three of you that have your hands raised…smack yourselves in the forehead.


Apple is in no way trying to start a browser war on Windows. Apple wants 3rd party apps from Windows developers for the iPhone. That’s all there is to it. Safari exists on Windows right now for that reason, and that reason only.

Why is the first Beta so buggy? Because they didn’t make this decision until a short time ago. Why did they release it then?

Again…because they want iPhone apps. They want them on launch day, and they’re already getting them from a variety of sources. While this “Web 2.0” source of development may not be ideal, it does open the doors up for everyone to develop interesting applications for the iPhone, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people do with it after the product launches.

Once Apple chose this method of delivery for 3rd Party Applications, they had no choice but to release Safari for Windows.

This portion below is the bulk of what I have an issue with from this particular article:

On the second page of the article he says the following:

Apple is once again creating its own category — call it the Mac OS-based cell phone category — and I’m sure Apple will win 100% market share.

Then two pages later….

This is the problem with Apple’s plan: To control the user experience of third-party apps on the iPhone, Apple needs to control a quasi-proprietary browser platform. To get developers to build for the browser, Apple needs the power of market share. To get market share, Apple needs Windows compatibility and Windows-user acceptance. And — here’s where the logic fails — to get a critical mass of Windows users, Safari needs to embrace existing Web standards, UI conventions and functionality.

Am I crazy, or is this guy high?

First off, Apple isn’t trying to control the “user experience of third-party apps on the iPhone” – if they were they’d have a more limiting SDK…but they don’t. They’re using AJAX, and I don’t know if this guy has ever actually used Safari, but it’s not a browser you have to use your feet to operate…just like Firefox is to IE, Safari has it’s own quirks, but many sites and online applications run the same in Safari as they do in any other browser. My point with this statement is not to say that Safari isn’t different from the other browsers, I am painfully aware that it is – my point is that it is not SO different that Apple would somehow be controlling the look of third-party apps. If they use standard buttons will they look like Apple buttons…yeah…but that doesn’t mean you can’t use an image to make it look however you want, and simply make it clickable.

Secondly, the idea that Apple has to have major market share to “get developers to build for the browser” is wrong in almost every possible way that sentence can be wrong. A) Apple isn’t trying to get developers to build for the browser…they are building for the iPhone, and B) Why in the hell would you have to have major market share when we’re talking about a FREE download?

If you want to build an application that you know will work on the iPhone, you need this free download to do it. That’s all there is to it.

Let’s say, however, that you DID have to have major market share…well, as the writer said on page two, Apple is building their own market with the iPhone, and they control 100% of it. Sounds pretty major to me.

Bottom line – Apple did not throw the first grenade in new millennium browser war. Apple lobbed a piece of software over to Windows because it was necessary to ensure 3rd party web development from Windows developers. The vast majority of iPhone customers are going to be Windows users, and they are going to want their Windows based apps on their phone. With the choice that Apple made for 3rd party development, this was the only solution.

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Kokou Adzo

Kokou Adzo is a stalwart in the tech journalism community, has been chronicling the ever-evolving world of Apple products and innovations for over a decade. As a Senior Author at Apple Gazette, Kokou combines a deep passion for technology with an innate ability to translate complex tech jargon into relatable insights for everyday users.

9 thoughts on “Apple didn’t pick a fight w/ Safari on Windows…think about it…

  1. Apple get’s paid by Google for every search that originates in the Safari browser search field. This is true for the Mac and Windoze version. It’s plain and simple economics. Since 1,000,000 copies of Safari was downloaded for Windoze last week (in the first 48 hours), that’s that many more platforms from which Apple get’s credit for the query.

    Apple wins no matter if they win the browser war. That’s not the game. They just want to originate all Google searches! Simple…


  2. I don’t see why Safari wont succeed “ever”. I think it’ll turn into a similar story as iTunes because it really is the best browser and Apple is giving windows users more of what they’ve been asking for. Steve Jobs said that windows users have been asking for more apps like iTunes and Safari is doing just that. It really isn’t that buggy either and in all my uses it’s been the fastest which is another reason why it will succeed.

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    And you know what? If Apple never released Safari for Windows I can almost guarantee that the gazillion Windows users that get used to the look and feel of Safari on their iPhone would be begging Apple to release it for Windows.

  4. Thank you for your sanity. It is refreshing to say the least. A lot of dummies out there not listening very closely to Jobs’ keynote address at WWDC.

  5. Totaly agree with your analysis.

    To Andrew: Wrong, 2 major bugs that prevent use in my environment. 1) Crashes on authenticating to a proxy server 2) Fails to load intranet pages from our protected intranet. Both show stoppers. As for Safari being the “best” browser, that’s a subjective statement as many Camino, Firefox and even Opera users would tell you. Objectively it still has some issues supporting open standards completely.

    However, I can’t wait for Apple to get it right as it will be my browser of choice.

  6. I refuse to click on the ComputerWorld article. I suspect it’s written by Mike Elgan, whose job in life is to garner page hits.

    If it is, he’s been wrong everytime he’s written about Apple, and yet he can’t stop himself from writing about Apple. Mike Elgan has quickly joined John Dvorak, Rob Enderle, and Paul Thurrott on the list of truly clueless when it comes to Apple.

  7. I would have to disagree with on some of that. Though I do believe that Apple doesn’t want to start a browser war, WebKit has been available for windows and linux for some time now. I think it was more of a marketing plow.

  8. …and if more people were aware about Safari for Windows, because the majority of people have never even heard of Safari to began with, they probably would, and should use it. It is much more simpler and FASTER; and it uses tabs, which some people also don’t know, it has a built in pop-up blocker and firewall that is reliable and easy to manage, and lastly, it downloads very easily. Mac For Life…

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