Apple using ‘Microsoft-like’ moves to get Safari on Windows Machines

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This is one of those stories that you just know is going polarize the audience. The hardest of hardcore Apple fanboys have probably already fired up Mail to send me hate e-mail about how I should die for writing a title like that…but it’s 100% true.

On Windows, Apple has decided to push Safari through to iTunes and Quicktime users. The Apple software update application will now constantly remind you to install Safari 3.1 until you finally give in an do it.

It’s a shady way to get your numbers up on installations.

“but…” you say, “lots of other companies do that – why are you picking on Apple?”

um…because this is an Apple blog.

Also, because the “everyone else is doing it” line doesn’t work with me. It didn’t work for my mother when I was 4 either. Just because everyone else is pushing their software down the pipe to users who didn’t ask for it, that doesn’t mean Apple should be doing it.

This isn’t the first time Apple has done this, though. I remember the first time I tried to install Quicktime on my mother’s computer and the only way I could get it was to get iTunes as well. That was a cheap trick, and this is a cheap trick.

To put it in perspective, how would you feel if your next update to Mac Office suddenly included a nag screen to download IE8 for Mac (if there was such a thing)? My guess is, you’d get tired of it.

Basically, the next time Steve Jobs announces the number of Safari users on Windows, you can take that number than throw it out the window…because it won’t be accurate. Not all Windows users are un-tech savvy, of course, but a large number of them are, and they will install Safari just to make the nag screen go away…if they even have the forethought to uncheck the install box to begin with – regardless…it’s shady, and I don’t care for it.



What do you think?

thanks to tuaw for the image.

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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.

30 thoughts on “Apple using ‘Microsoft-like’ moves to get Safari on Windows Machines

  1. Yeh, come June Apple will throw those numbers down like “Wow, Safari is the best browser on the planet. We’ve had over 1,000,000 installations.” That means nothing when people got it automatically because of an iTunes update and probably aren’t even using it. I use it on my PC at work anyway, so I thought it was part of the update because I was already using it. I thought nothing of it.

  2. I’m still trying to figure out why they did a port for Safari for Windows the way they did. It sucks, it’s buggy, it makes them look like hypocrites for using a non-native UI, and personally I think the Windows version of Safari is the worst browser to ship since Nutscrape. If you’re going to port a product do it PROPERLY.

  3. “The Apple software update application will now constantly remind you to install Safari 3.1 until you finally give in an do it.”

    Are you really that weak? Please. This is an “Apple Software Update” application, NOT an iTunes or QuickTime application. It stands to reason that Safari would be included in order to make software updates seamless and the option to install new software convenient.

    This is sort of like getting other BLOG sites to list your BLOG link to put it in front of people.

  4. @Jeremy Steele

    I understood it when that was how you developed for the iPhone. It made sense so that Windows users could develop web apps and test them out – and it still makes sense, I guess, from a web development standpoint, but I don’t see why anyone on Windows would use it, because its not a very good browser in that OS.

  5. @Joe

    I don’t think the consumer should have to be annoyed by it every time there is an update to something they don’t want to install. If it popped up after you’d already chosen on your own to download the application that would be one thing – but that’s not what we’re talking about here.

    it’s not a matter of being “weak” its a matter of being “bothered”.

  6. @Michael: We’ll probably agree to disagree on this. I do agree with you comment regarding “everyone else is doing” is a lame excuse, though I don’t know that Apple has said that. Apple is in business and has a right to deploy software in a way they deem reasonable, though you, me or others may disagree. However I don’t believe this rises to the level of annoyance.

    It’s annoying I can only watch one cable channel at a time, pay for hundreds of channel and only watch a small fraction of those during the course of a month.

    I don’t see Apple’s decision to communicate updates to their software like my cable annoyance. If I were reminded daily or on some schedule Apple arbitrarily decided upon, it would be different of course.

  7. Whining troll. oh my! there is a single line, one word, option on my computer screen to install another Apple program when i update the one i have. how offensive! my eyeballs are being raped! they are trying to take over my brain! etc.

    just don’t install it if you don’t want it. ignore it. and get over yourself.

  8. @Joe

    I’ll agree to disagree. What annoys one person might not annoy another. It annoys me, but if it doesn’t annoy you, that’s great.

    @John E.

    “and get over yourself.”

    You first.

  9. I agree with you – up until the point of the Safari-numbers. Those number’s don’t come from downloads or from the number of installed Safaris, but from the number of Safaris USED to browse the internet – so this pushing of Safari might influence this number, because people start using Safari even if they wouldn’t have downloaded it… but a noticeable impact in the number will (probably) only be made, if they like it and continue using it.. so the number will still reflect the number of people enjoying safari

  10. I’ve been quite a fanboy of late, but I actually don’t have a problem with the idea that is a cheap trick. It is a cheap trick. I’ve never liked that junk. Give it time, perhaps in a few years apple will be as bad as microsoft in their tactics, maybe by then I’ll switch to linux.

  11. Umm, how about this — on my Mac if I don’t want an update — say the one for an iPod when I don’t have an iPod — I can click the update, hit delete and VIOLA! It doesn’t come up again (OK, it does the next time there is an update, but I hit delete again and it’s gone ) — It doesn’t keep popping up every week….

    Just a thought……

  12. “The hardest of hardcore Apple fanboys have probably already fired up Mail to send me hate e-mail about how I should die for writing a title like that…but it’s 100% true.”

    What’s true is that this is an Apple hate blog. This is a PC gamer Apple hater blog. PC egoist/gamer/losers come here for some Apple hate. They usually find it, and that makes them feel good.

  13. @michael curse you for having a title like that! hehehe! Joke!

    I’m a Windows User (can’t afford a apple notebook) and I haven’t encounter that with iTunes so far and I haven’t installed safari 3.1.

    But thanks for the warning or something. I’ll definitely look out for that.

  14. @Boo

    You realize you just proved the statement I made about the Apple fanboys right?

    The truth is, I love Apple products – and I don’t play PC games (I really have no idea where you’re getting that…but whatever). From my Mac Mini to the 2 iPhones in my house, the 4 or 5 iPods, AppleTV, and even my Macbook Pro which is currently being repaired for the 3rd time.

    I love Apple products…that doesn’t mean the company doesn’t do shady stuff from time to time. This is not a blog that blindly trumpets everything Apple does as Gospel.

    There are plenty of places out there you can worship at the alter of Steve Jobs, but we LOVE Apple stuff around here, and you’re welcome to join us – but be prepared for both a positive AND negative look at things the company does. If you’re not interested in an objective point of view (which I think, between myself, and the regular commentors around here, we provide), then you’re not going to enjoy some of the stuff posted here.

    If nothing else, it always makes for interesting conversation.


  15. Michael – I agree it’d be helpful for a web developer who is windows only. That’s about the only use I can think of though.

    @Andy “fighting an enemy with the same weapons is always a good idea”

    So if someone throws mud in my face I should throw mud back? Nah, I’d rather pull out an AK-47, threaten them, and end the mud tossing real quick.

    In this situation, Apple would be better off A) not using these semi-clandestine techniques to get software installed, and B) doing their best to expose how Microsoft does it. The media would be Apple’s AK-47.

  16. Microsoft has grown through these techniques, so there’s no surprise Apple would follow suit. Remember, it’s Google who’s motto is “Don’t Be Evil” not Apple’s…

  17. I might have a solution for this although I haven’t tested this theory:

    Uninstall Apple Software update on windows and you might not find this screen anymore.

  18. Sorry, I don’t agree that Safari on Windows is crap. I use it all the time, and it beats Firefox, in my opinion every time. It sure as hell beats IE6, which is my agency’s standard. Never crashes, renders all the web sites I use (with a single exception) correctly and even my bank’s site works well.

    (The only reason I can use something else is that I’m an admin & can get around the software restrictions… thank goodness – I HATE IE!)

  19. I have one good thing to say about it as of this morning – been working on a script for someone with AJAX, and wow, it surprised me. At least the AJAX calls fly on safari – easily 5x faster than IE and firefox.

  20. Ok, this might a little over the roof, but I actually find this funny. The first thing that I could think of after reading about this update was Macworld 1997. Could this be a way how Apple wants to get even with Microsoft for pushing IE to be the default browser on Macs back then?

  21. Well Windows Users are aware of Safari because of the Web.. I think almost tech related site has a short article about it.

    The reason why windows users get that Safari install update, its because you have Apple Update Software installed on your system so every time you start iTunes you’ll get that notice.

  22. Interesting conversation and a lot of comments.

    I see nothing wrong for suggesting safari for Windows users because they might not be aware of its existence.

    Safari isn’t ready to compete with other browsers on windows because it lacks some nice features like ‘Page zoom’ that’s available on FireFox 3 beta and Opera on both Windows and mac and I have to say it’s a very nice and useful feature.

    As for me I am trying to commit to using safari on my mac ‘Just because it’s apple’ and also because of the search in dictionary feature in the right click context menu and the ‘Amazing and un-beatable’ ‘find in page’ feature that’s the best in any other browser on earth including FireFox.

    Safari has to do the following:

    1. Include Page zoom (it enlarges graphics when you enlarges text size).

    2. Add the feature of adding other search engines to the built-in search feed like opera and firefox. Although you may be able to achieve that by installing inquisitor yet, it’s not native.

    3. Include the option to add web-page icons to the shortcut bar like Opera and FirFox 2. Although fireFox 3 beta 4 has dropped that and gone to the sleek look of safari. But I have to say that omitting page names all-together and keeping only the icons in the bookmarks bar is a really cool feature because humans are visual creatures by nature. I have my Opera set this way and it looks and feels great.

    4. Support web-forms better.


    If Safari added the above mentioned features, I think that it would be the best browser on the planet. What do you think?

  23. @ The Wizard – ‘I see nothing wrong for suggesting safari for Windows users because they might not be aware of its existence.’

    Well then all Apple had to do was include it in the Software Update but have it unticked. Defaults are important because no one cares to read the screen they just want to update their iTunes.

  24. @vance

    But windows users aren’t like the majority of mac users they just want a computer. These people don’t go on tech sites.

  25. Im got safari by downloading iit from the the apple site. i use windows computers as i just prefer them but i have to say i quite like it, i still prefer firefox 3 tho as it just feels more polished for windows than safari does, safari looks waaaay better on a proper mac. im debating wich one to use tho!

  26. If Windows fanboys still love Bill Gates after all the Netscape illegal crushing, IE illegal entwinement into Windows, and copying of Mac OS look and feel over the years, why should we criticize Apple for using similar tactics? People don’t remember the Justice Department suits. They remember that Windows is everywhere, and even use that simple fact to praise it. I say it is high time Apple became tough and competitive instead of kind and gentle, and let the chips fall where they may.

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