Monday, March 24, 2008

Browser Wars Heat Up, Again

Neil McAllister

Browsers were all the buzz over the weekend, beginning with the news that the developers of Mozilla Firefox feel their latest build is ready for widespread general use, despite technically being still only a beta. I'm not ready to make the leap full-time yet myself, but I'll definitely be looking at Firefox's new features in the coming weeks.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly was the first to point out that Apple has now begun offering Safari as an optional download whenever you receive an update to its Quicktime or iTunes software on Windows. It's "optional" in the sense that you don't have to install it, but the installer assumes that you do want it, by default. If you don't want to download and install 50MB of Safari, you need to uncheck the box manually.

This really bugs me. I'm perfectly happy with Firefox, and I see no reason why I should have Apple twisting my arm to load up my system with another browser every time it issues a security update to Quicktime.

And I should point out that it's not just Safari. I made a point to install Quicktime without iTunes on my business PC, and yet I'm still offered "Quicktime + iTunes" every time Apple releases a new update. This is annoying and coercive at best, and at worst it resembles the practices of malware makers.

The shame of it is that Safari is actually a fine browser. Apple should be able to increase its market share on its merits alone, without getting pushy about it.

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