Slaying the IE Beast on Apple's Wild Safari

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple is using its iTunes software to persuade Microsoft Windows users to ditch Internet Explorer and switch to its Safari web browser. The iPod-maker is taking advantage of an update service in iTunes that tells users when a new version of the software, or the accompanying QuickTime program (used for iTunes videos) is available. Around 100 million people use iTunes to manage their iPod players, many of them on a Windows PC.

The update service is now suggesting to users that they download the new edition (3.1) of the Safari browser. That's a little cheeky; the message is seen by everyone, whether or not they have an older version of Safari installed.  In many or even most cases it's not technically an update offer.

Users are greeted with a message saying "Safari for Windows is the fastest and easiest-to-use web browser for the PC. It displays web pages faster than any other browser and is filled with innovative features -- all delivered in an efficient and elegant user interface." (Source:

According to Apple, the new edition of Safari loads web pages almost twice as quickly as either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. An independent test suggests these figures may be slightly exaggerated, but found the browser is consistently faster than its rivals. (Source:

It's a creative marketing move by Apple, which will be hoping to increase its share of the browser market. Currently, they have just 5.4% compared with 17.2% and 74.8% for Firefox and Internet Explorer, respectively.

However, some analysts believe pushing Safari to Windows users may have its risks. The threats of viruses and Trojan horses are far stronger on Windows than Apple's own Mac operating system. It's far from certain how well Safari will stand up to the increased danger posed by hackers using Windows.

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