Steve Jobs had to have something daft to say at his company's cult AGM. In a moment of madness that some have convinced themselves is a new chapter in the browser wars of olden times, Apple has finally dared to stick its Safari browser in front of Windows users. Now it would do well to stand well back because this isn’t going to be a loving experience.
It’s not a new chapter in the browser wars because that is a tiresome and long-dead confrontation between Netscape and Microsoft from the days of yore when browsers were thought to be so amazing that they gave an edge to any company that created one.
They didn’t, and don’t. If any applications give a company an edge it is IM clients or perhaps media players. Browsers - Mozilla included - are software window dressing that cause as much trouble for their creators as offer them a route to instant credibility.
If there is a browser war nowadays, it’s between browser companies and the hackers/criminals looking for an easy hole to jump through for one reason or another. Presumably, Apple has factored in the bad news days when their browser will get a mauling from the black hatters.
But hold on – doesn’t Microsoft’s dominance of browsers give it the ability to define the standards for, er, looking and experiencing at the Internet? No, what gives Microsoft the ability to control that is still in an indirect way its dominance of the OS market. Vista is mediocre and grumblingly slow, but it’s what banks the whole company. Its browser dominates because its OS dominates.
Funnily enough, the pre-release of Safari doesn’t yet support the Vista Aero interface. And there are evenvulnerabilitites, and it's only week one.
But Apple wants to populate everything, even browsers. Will it help the iPhone? If the iPhone is that great, no browser should be needed. The iPod didn’t need a browser to become the must-have piece of over-priced semiconductor sweetie wrapped up in white plastic, did it?
Get the software here if you’re keen.