Home Apple Takes the Spyware-Style Low Road, Pushing Safari on Windows

Apple Takes the Spyware-Style Low Road, Pushing Safari on Windows

Debate is raging over the news that Steve Jobs has made good on his summertime promise and is now sending Apple’s browser Safari along for the ride when Windows users are prompted to update iTunes or Quicktime. Users can deselect the additional software download, but let’s be realistic – there must be millions of people unwittingly downloading Safari onto their computers right now. Downloading software has to be opt-in, not opt-out.

Safari’s market share among browsers is tiny but there are better ways to tackle that problem. Mozilla CEO John Lilly wrote today that Apple’s tactic could make users skeptical of official software updates and leave them vulnerable to security exploits. That seems like a fair criticism it levy. How many ways can you think of that Apple could grow its market share through innovation, instead of lowdown tactics like this?

One of the primary reasons that Firefox users prefer that browser of Safari is its extensibility. Couldn’t Safari do something crazy to foster a revolution in Webkit extensions? I’m imagining free, unlimited iTunes downloads for a year for anyone who develops a free Safari extension downloaded by more than 100k users.

How about something exciting with offline syncing? Google Gears built in. Maybe a Safari version of Greasemonkey built in. Perhaps some particularly magical syncing between iPhones and desktop Safari installations would be a big hit.

It’s not my job to think of these things, that’s something Apple does better than almost anyone. Why would a company so capable of designing and marketing must-have products resort to this kind of slimy distribution tactic?

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