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Safari for Windows: Shock and Yawn

Safari on WindowsBy now it is all over the web: Yesterday, Apple has released it's web browser, Safari, for Windows. When I first heard the news by live feed to the keynote at WWDC, I must admit that I was non-plussed. I mean, didn't the browser wars end 10 years ago? And if I want cross-platform, secure browsing, why not just use Firefox? Frankly I prefer Firefox on my Mac and rarely use Safari 2.0. (Some of Firefox's superior features include performance, security, in-line searching, more obvious tabbed browsing, and a cross-platform browser that proudly out-does Redmond in so many ways.)

So why would I want to switch to Safari? I'm not sure whether I will ultimately switch to Safari for browsing (away from Firefox), but I have installed it and I will give it a try.

But I'm not sure that's the point. Apple simply must have an independent browser play for several reasons:

  1. the webtop is becoming the desktop, and if something would happen to Firefox, Microsoft would have too much power
  2. the iPhone uses Safari, and initially all third-party applications will be written for Safari, not custom OS X apps. This is perhaps the most important reason. Developers want to test apps on their native platform, and some of them (!) are still running Windows.
  3. Some have speculated that Apple wants to use its great apps to entice people to switch to Mac.
  4. It is possible that Apple has actually created the means to write cross-platform applications, and Safari is simply it's latest foray, after iTunes, into Windows compatibility.

So regardless of whether Safari gains significant market share (it's currently at around 5%), it's an important play for Apple strategically. But still I find it more Yawn than Shock.

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