Early this week Apple released their Safari browser for Windows. Safari is a neat, standards compliant web browser and I feel its arrival for Windows is definitely an important step. You might think the usefulness or the need for yet another browser. Look at it this way – with Web becoming ever more intervened with our lifes, innovation in the browser space is super critical. Personally, I love Internet Explorer and I think IE 8.0 will be a technically advanced browser with dominant market share, but still we cannot leave the fate of web to just two companies – Microsoft & Mozilla. Recently AOL closed for good Netscape, of course Netscape has in real terms died several years back itself. This leaves us with only one other credible competition which is from Opera but Opera never managed to garner any significant user base in the PC. So Apple coming in to this space should be welcomed.
While we welcome Apple, their entry has not been without controversies. Mozilla CEO John Lilly has taken serious objections to Apple offering the new browser to Windows users via Apple Software Update which is part of iTunes & QuickTime Player. This means several millions of iTunes & QuickTime Player users will without there knowledge get Safari, there by increasing the surface area of attacks on their PC. I agree 100% with the objections raised by Mozilla CEO on this that it undermines the trust users will have on software. Adding on to this, is Apple’s licensing terms for Safari which permits you to install this only on “a single Apple-labeled computer at a time”. This is weird considering Apple never makes or sells any Windows PC, so you will never get a legal way to install Safari. While Register in UK and many in blogosphere are making fun of this, I guess this is more a goof-up and a human error (copy and paste problem) from Apple’s legal team and sure to be corrected out in days.
Finally, when I tried to install Safari in Vista x64 I get the following file corrupt error. I tried downloading half-a-dozen times from IE, Firefox, FDM – same error. It installs fine in a Windows XP x86 machine. Seems Apple has some more work to do.