back to article Mozilla CEO blasts Apple for putting security of the internet at risk

Steve Jobs is using Apple Software Update to slip his Safari browser onto Windows machines. And Mozilla CEO John Lilly is peeved. Presumably, Lilly is peeved because Safari browsers on Windows machines would eat into the market share of Mozilla's very own Firefox browser. But Lilly says he's peeved for different reasons. He …


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  1. Mad Hacker

    Seems like a non-issue

    Windows software updates often install without asking users. They've even been known to force a reboot.

    I don't see this as a huge problem. I think it's much worse when an installer installs MSDN or Google Toolbar without making it clear (i.e. installer has it checked by default just like the Apple installer does.) What about that weatherbug thing that AIM installed on everyone's machine?

    I've sat down at non-tech people's computers to find they have 2 or 3 search toolbars on their browser. When I ask them, they just say, "I don't know how to get rid of them but I don't want them." I see that as a bigger issue. At least this is a separate app that doesn't modify existing apps or settings unlike a toolbar or desktop search tool.

  2. Nicholas Moore

    Why worry about competition?

    Most of the people I know who use Macs use Firefox as their main browser. I doubt Apple will win that much share of the market by forcing Safari on their iTunes users.

    Though it is just another example of Apple giving out unwanted software in their updates. A few years ago, I was trying to install only Quicktime (no, I don't know why either) on a Windows PC. But for some reason, Apple was convinced I wanted iTunes as well... In the end, I went for Quicktime alternative!

  3. Anonymous Coward

    As an apple fan

    I recently reinstalled iTunes om a xp machine I rebuilt. (I like iTunes and quickTime so get over it now). clicked on the update tool (Airport had been bugging me about an update for a week).

    Now at this point its my first use of Update, I kinda like that it didnt send me to a web page but did list the updates.

    Yep Safari was there, much to my surprise, I thought maybe cos of iTunes needing it, but no, just cos Steve Jobs wants me to use it.

    I agree on this point that it is wrong for Apple (or anybody else) to push new software with the update app.

    But, being British and thus or at least average inteligence I first red what I was updating made a choice, and decided I was more then happy using Opera (you know the browser that started things like tabbed browsing).

    It would have been better had Safari been marked as new software or perhaps the word updater means "to keep you upto date with Apple releases"

    I wouldnt go as far as teh security of the internet, but yeah it is a lil miss leading, I think Apple should make it more clear why Safari is on the list of updates.

  4. chris
    Thumb Up

    he has a point

    For a brief moment I thought I had Safari installed. It was quite a brain tease considering it was Apple's UPDATER software. Kudos for someone with a little pull pointing this out to the general public.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    @As an apple fan

    I started reading your post, in my head, in an American accent (I'm English btw), but then halfway through it says "But, being British" and the voice in my head suddenly turned into a very posh British accent. Mental. Maybe I should get that checked out.

    Back on planet Earth, yeah I was kind of really actually angry that Apple Updater tried to force Safari on me. But, I unchecked and updated iTunes and Quicktime or whatever. Then when it finishes it does a quick re-check for any further updates, and it popped up again with Safari and the box was ready-ticked for your pleasure! Not cool Snake-Hips Steve.

    Even Dollar Bill lets me select "Don't show this update again" on IE7 (for my Eee no less) and then doesn't really bother me about it again. Legend, really.

  6. McToo
    Jobs Horns

    And with QuickTime too...

    I noticed that nice little Apple Software Update offering me iTunes with the latest update for QuickTime. I couldn't just choose the QuickTime update, I had to take iTunes as well. I have no use for iTunes, if I'd wanted it, I'd have downloaded it. There was only one thing for it, if QuickTime needed an update I couldn't get without getting iTunes - bye bye QuickTime. Now I won't be offered Safari, or any other software that Mr Jobs thinks I should put on my machine.

    iHate - because I do.... 'kin Unix butcher!

  7. Domenico Perrella

    He does have a point.

    I'm similar to Chris, but I was fooled. I got the window, which clearly identified itself as a software upgrade and thought "I didn't know I installed Safari on this computer, but if I did I guess I should update it." I figured if I had Safari on my computer, I should make sure it was up to date to keep it safe. I also figured that Apple was trustworthy, so I didn't question the apparent claim that I already had Safari and needed to update it. I won't make the mistake of trusting Apple over my own memory again and I will uninstall this when I get home.

  8. Barrie Shepherd

    Apple "we know what you need/want"

    I agree, my trust has taken a step backwards when updaters give me things I have not asked for. The next step will be updaters that remove things I already have on my PC but Apple/Microsoft/etc. don’t think I need (or deserve?).

    The industry should get together to sort out a code of practice to reassure us that, at least some parts, of the industry have “morals”.

  9. Jim Westrich

    This is a major annoyance

    I don't think the angle of FireFox complaining about this should be the issue and I think it is sad that a normally savvy and user/admin friendly site like Der Regg is framing it this way.

    It is simply irresponsible and sleazy for any software company to do what Apple has been and is now doing. They know it as well. It does not matter that other companies do it. I would argue that other companies (Real comes to mind) that have done this have been punished by knowledgeable consumers with choices.

    I have been very annoyed with Apple software over the years for its trying to get its hooks into settings and software where it doesn't belong. I will not use I-tunes for this reason (the store part is a decent app but I will not use it for other reason's). I thought Apple was getting better (it improved the Quicktime install a few years ago due to complaints).

    It is easy to dismiss my behavior as "one-off" but when I talk to users I know I am in the strong majority. Now, I doubt I will ever use or try Safari.

  10. MARCO

    firefox is no better

    Firefox gets updated in the background without me knownig.

    without asking.

    It is much worse.

  11. Diggy Zazz
    Jobs Horns

    I closed that update dialog

    I agree with Lilly. Like all iTunes users, I'm used to seeing these frequent update windows. Nevertheless, this time I did read the fine print. When I saw the unsolicited Safari push, two words came to mind: "cheesey" and "sleazey". I clicked the cancel button.

  12. Robert

    It's not like it's a required update.

    The thing that I keep seeing is people talking about how "underhanded" it is for Apple to put this on their software updater. But it's not like you can keep Microsoft from putting Internet Explorer on your PC. It's always there, it's a "Critical Update" through the Windows Live Updates service. You're forced to install it.

    Safari however, innocently shows up on the Updates Log for iTunes, but its not required to update. You can just simply click "Cancel", and the window goes away. You're not required to download Safari for Windows or anything. It's merely something Apple threw in as a suggestion.

    People are acting like Steve Jobs personally sent emails to everyone threatening them if they didn't download Safari from the iTunes Updater. This is getting to be a bit silly.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Damned adverts :-(

    I was going to read this article, but then another of those damned adverts appeared that covers up the article!

    Rather than wait for the close gadget to 'finally' appear, I did what I usually do - went to another page.

    These annoying adverts simply drive away customers.

  14. OddEmissions


    "But, being British and thus or at least average inteligence I first red what I was updating made a choice, and decided I was more then happy using Opera (you know the browser that started things like tabbed browsing)."

    What you wrote about and how you wrote it seem to be at odds, unless you were only trying to exemplify "average".

    Anyway, it seems a little shady to activate the install checkbox and couch it as an update when the user has never had the application installed in the first place. Still, it is voluntary to run the updater and leave the option enabled, so I give this a meh, who cares?

  15. Mr. Sniggles
    Thumb Down

    It IS Security of the internet - here's why...

    Because some people don't take kindly to having their personal property invaded with jOBs spamware, they will choose not to install the update, thus leaving their computers open for zombie candidates. Already happened in the past with Microcrap when they stopped allowing updates on non-registered OS's thus propagating worms and trogans. They were forced to back down.

    Question to Jobs - who was the genious to made the call to replace every occurence of the usage of \n with \r and making the Apple BSD OS incompatible with all other BSD and Linux OS's. Nuff said about ability to make judgements at that company.

  16. pAnoNymous

    Not a big deal?

    Just watched a movie on WMP10. At the end it said there was WMP update and did I want to install it. I said OK. It's now installing WMP11. Grrrrr....

    Apple software update tells you that this is new software and lets you choose not install it. I think it's pretty clear. The only thing they might have done differently is not have Safari ticked to install by default - but how many apps have Google toolbar set to install by default these days?

  17. C. Nelson
    Thumb Down


    Jobs' little trick only accomplished one thing here, and that was that I've uninstalled the software updater! I was already tired of the "please change iTunes versions so that we can block things on the iPhone you don't own" stunts, and I'll take the responsibility of keeping up with the truly important updates myself.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    ET iPhone home...

    Why does Safari silently connect to something every hour without my permission and what is it connecting to?

    I installed Safari 3.1 on Windows and the first time I tried a URL my firewall popped up a notice asking what permissions I wanted to give it. As with other browsers, I allowed it free access and forgot about it. However, I was connected to another network (my firewall gives applications separate permissions for each network) and opened Safari to load some local pages. After about 30 minutes I suddenly got the firewall popup asking what permissions I wanted to give this new program (it was new to this network, at least). Safari was trying to connect to a DNS server though I don't know what domain it was trying to resolve, but either way I have disabled all auto updates settings in Safari, Quicktime and the Apple updater program, so there was absolutely no reason for Safari to connect to the Internet.

    I thought maybe it was a glitch but then about an hour later it tried again, and then an hour or so after that.

    So does anyone who's more of a techie than me know what Safari's doing? Who's it connecting to and what is it sending/recieving?

  19. Nick M
    Jobs Horns

    Bloody annoying is what it is...

    And if you choose not to install Safari / iTunes the auto update nags you once per week - regular as clockwork with a middle-of-the-screen-interrupting-whatever-you-were-doing window. The only way to get rid of it (which I have taken) is to remove all traces of Apple software from my PC and I now run the free alternatives.

    Shame to see Apple, who do so many things very well screw something like this up so very badly.

  20. Danny
    Jobs Horns

    I bloody hate Steve Jobs

    His god complex has gone too far now. Installing new software from an update that belongs to another application is just out of order. If I wanted safari, I would have installed it myself not slipstreaming alongside something else. Even if I was an ignorant user wanting to move away from IE, I could type in 'browser' into a search engine and find firefox,opera and safari very easily, I don't need 'the almighty jobs' to decide I 'need' his awful POS

  21. James Bowman
    Thumb Down

    Unfortunately Packaged...

    Fair enough, Apple has the right to expand and develop.

    What they dont have the right to do is mis-label. I hate grey areas and everything in them, unfortunately it seems as though Apple has fallen into one of these. I will be watching this issue (and Apple) very closely.

  22. Elrond Hubbard


    I'm surprised it wasn't bundled with iTunes like the crap installed to support the iPhone I don't have. Eventually I couldn't stand iTunes and ditched it, still regret buying an IPod.

  23. David Mulholland

    Stop Forgiving Apple!

    Whether or not this will improve Apple's share of the market or not is not the issue. If Microsoft had done something like this, say automatically suggest that you install MS Office or something they would be back in court (probably in Europe). Why are people defending Apple for this. They are trying to make people install Safari without realizing it. I know that if I hadn't disabled Apple Updater (personally I don't like none essential software trying to update itself) I probably would have installed it by accident under the assumption that an updater will only update the software I have already decided to install.

    It is just as bad as those software programs that try to install toolbars by default. There's no difference in my book. Apple should not be allowed to do this. Update programs yes (that's in the users interest generally), install new software is a no.

    I know that the user still has the option to unclick it but a company of Apple's size should not be assuming that they will want to install a new piece of software.

  24. Jared Earle


    "Why does Safari silently connect to something every hour without my permission and what is it connecting to?"

    RSS feeds, perchance?

  25. Benjamin Goddard
    Thumb Down

    Apple Udadate is as good as Spyware

    Apple Update...

    is secretly installed under your nose, boots up with windows, has been known to take up considerable system resources, and also ensures that all iTunes and Quicktime compatible media files are opened with iTunes and quicktime, and without the user's consent.

    Like Spyware, it installs itself, runs itself on every startup, is tricky to configure and remove, and also writes to the system registry, automatically overwriting any other file association settings you already had set, every time you reboot.


    is great, it organises your music, and simplifies searching and cetegorizing. But aside from that it's hoards RAM, changes anything that is not MP3 to ACC without you wanting it to, and will only work with external devices and drives called iPhone, and iPod/iPod Mini, and iPod Touch.

    Now, Steve, why would anyone be remotely interested in installing your over-decorated, over simplified, minimalistic Safari web browser, when your downloads effectively install update software that is, effectively, Spyware, and have a media player that wants you to spend money on media players with screens that are nearly pointless for watching videos without squinting, having to hold it up with your hands (no kickstands on iPods)?

    It may be an improvement in free services and applications for Apple customers, but not an improvement in people who have lost their trust in your software.

    If Microsoft did this, everyone would end up buying more PS3s and Linux PCs/EePCs.

    But It is good to have a laptop that looks like it can easily be delivered in a household UK post box or used as a table mat.

  26. Melissa Jackson

    annoying, maybe but....

    "undermining internet security" ??? C'mon now...that's going a little too far. How many times do you sign up for something (like signing up to post comments to this website) where there are check boxes already checked to receive even more junk mail?? Let's all think about this a little bit. If you were running Apple, with a product you believe to be much better than anyone else's similar product but you have a very small market share of users, wouldn't you do something similar? It's how business gets done. I'm annoyed that when I bought a new HP Laptop there was all kinds of crap preinstalled on it. I never asked for that. It's how businesses get you to try their stuff. Annoying yes....however I just deleted it. At least they're asking before it's installed.

  27. Chris
    Thumb Down

    This is a problem because..

    It's trying to dupe users in to installing a different browser. Imagine if Microsoft wrote say.. Windows Media Player for the Mac (or Linux) and assume it was required to use the incredibly popular zune (remember, just imagining here). So millions of computer illiterate people are buying these products and installing the software. Suddenly, and update window pops up and they click "Ok", like every other user - they don't read what it says. Boom, it installed IE4Mac on your machine, claiming it is 3x faster then every other browser, etc. For those people that are trying to defend this, put MS in these shoes and suddenly "ZOMG END OF THE WORLD" and what not.

    It's a shady, underhanded way to get people installing crap.

  28. Herbie Hollar

    I don't think people are that dim-witted, but...

    I know I can turn off Apple Software Update so it never asks me, until I tell it to. Also, everyone should know what apps they have installed. If you don't, then maybe you should check after a late-night drunken web surf.

    Finally, everyone should pay attention to the check boxes, and turn the damn things off if they don't want the software/update!


  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I thought konqueror had tabs quite early

    Apple is about lock-in. During their little spate of Ads I started to get quite tempted to get one, but that temptation passed in all of about 35seconds.

    I don't mind supporting Apple on a network nowadays, since crapple talk has gone.

    And I would advise people who want to just have a computer that works buy one. It is a solid piece of kit.

    But personally that lock-in style is too annoying for my own systems.

    For the person who wants to know what is going on with Safari autoconnect - tcpdump or wireshark is probably what you want to run.

    I think Mozilla may be making more out of this than it really is - OS vendors always try this trick, and so do program makers but they are more limited by the OS vendor who can stop them in their tracks.

    Anti-competitive I would say - not less secure, installation is always going to be made simpler and simpler and sure that reduces security but hey, Mozilla does some automatic updating of its own on plugins.

    And since the whole Bon Echo, Ice Weasel fiasco, I think Mozilla are just trying to justify their actions there. The business model of Firefox works on the google search bar and the SSL certs bundled. As long as they protect those, anything else just helps with branding.

  30. Neil

    fire with fire

    It's unscrupulous yes, but how else do you compete with a browser that's bundled with Windows?

  31. Pete
    Jobs Horns

    Mac & Firefox user

    I have just received the update as I am typing this and my opinion is that this can and will cause people to install safari by mistake but how many of those will actually use the application and how many will actually know its installed?

    I have a mac and I run firefox as I prefer it to safari so I will not be installing it on windows.

    I believe this practice is deceitful and could damage customers trust in apple, this is blatently an attempt to take advantage of users who do not inspect everything they download!

  32. Jordan

    Pull yer head in Lilly

    I could be wrong but if I recall correctly there are a number of programs for windows that bundle firefox with their installer and have it checked to install by default... I know it's the same for the google/yahoo/ms toolbar. I suppose since the toolbars don't interfere with Mozilla's market share there's no hissy fit required.

  33. Damian Wheeler
    Thumb Down

    It doesn't end there...

    If you see Safari in your update prompts and uncheck the others, and select the option (under the options menu) to ignore selected updates, it'll be removed from your list. BUT... the next time there is an update for safari it will be a different update and so will prompt you again to install it.

    I've got quicktime (for some websites that want it) and not itunes but can't banish it from the list forever. :(

  34. Joe
    Thumb Down

    Yup, it's a dodgy method

    But you know what the net result of it will be? A few pissed-off geeks (such as ourselves) but millions of "normal users" using Safari.

    I disagree with it as a practice, but you've got to admit it will work a charm as far as the numbers are concerned!

  35. Bruce Robinson

    Firefox v Safari contest, so why worry?

    Safari isn't up to much, even on a iMac, Firefox beats it hands down in all areas so far. So even Mac uses prefer FF.

    As for the bundling issue, isn't what MS got fined over, a few years ago ?

    Steve Jobs is starting to act a little like Steve Gates these days. Principle isn't clearly something these chaps hold dear.

    Got more important issues to worry about. I still have a choice and Firefox is it.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    iTard paradigm vs Wintard paradigm?

    The real problem with the Crapple "updater" is that if you run it again to check squicktime updates, right after unticking iTunes+squicktime and telling it to ignore iTunes+squicktime, it will immediately try to con you into installing iTunes, despite the fact that you just told it to ignore it. Apparently "ignore" has a different meaning in Cupertino.

    If the Crapple "updater" separated it into updates and recommended software sections it and didn't preselect recommended software wouldn't be so damn annoying.

    Maybe iTards like having their boxes ticked by Steve, but we Wintards and Freetards prefer to tick our own boxes.

  37. Rick Leeming

    Thumb Buttons?

    I'ver removed the apple software update anyway, but is Safari supporting the thumb buttons on mice yet?

  38. Wile E. Veteran
    Thumb Down

    Friggin' iTunes

    I was forced to install Quicktime in order to take some "distance learning" classes. As regular as clockwork, I'm told that I need to update to iTunes + Quicktime and, now, Safari. I DON"T WANT ITUNES OR SAFARI!!! Just Quicktime security updates, please.

    I don't download music, movies or TV shows, don't own an MP3 player and really resent Apple's attempts to force me to install software I neither have use for nor want.

    Never an Apple product here, Stevie boy!

  39. Franklin

    Use of force

    So, lesse. A software update application asks you if you want to install a piece of software. It gives you a little ticky-box thingy so that you can say "no."

    Clearly this is a novel new usage of the word "force" I am not acquainted with. You'd think that Steve & Co. Would be showing up at folks' houses, gun in hand, and saying things like "Install Safari or I splatter your brains all over the computer!"

    "Force." Christ, people. Perspective.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    This is just such a non-issue. Another opportunity for apple bashers to get their sticks out, apple fanboys to get their shields up, and idiots who trust anything that pops up on their PC and says "wanna download me?" to get another unexpected present on their hard disk.

    Move along now, there's nothing to see...

  41. Tom Betz

    So uninstall Apple Software Updates!

    I noticed a long time ago that every time I installed Quicktime or iTunes that Apple Software Updates ws installed, even when I unchecked the option box during installation.... but it's right there in the Add/Remove Programs Control Panel, and it uninstalls easily and quickly!

    My PC remains safe and secure -- and it doesn't break a thing. In fact, it fixed an iTunes bug I ran into once!

  42. Anonymous Coward


    ...nobody on Windows has Quicktime installed any more?

    Just one more thing you have to keep patched, nags you to install the abortion that is iTunes - and does absolutely nothing that VLC doesn't do orders of magnitude better?

    Jobs "knows how to reach" Windows customers all right. Reach them, vex them and make them wish firey death on the Apple empire, mostly.

  43. Tom Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Apple Update toast

    It was bad enough with the updates for the iphone (not available in Canada) and apple TV (a very limited selection of crap shows in Canada) but Safari was too much.

    Apple update is GONE.

    If I want Safari I know where to fined it, until then stuff it Apple.

  44. Mad Hacker

    Short memories? MS IE7 for XP update was much worse.

    Although I did find a way to tell MS not to continue to remind me about IE7 updates (I still use 6 for compatibility with Deltek) it often "enabled" itself again.

    Not only that it was labelled as a critical upgrade and when I told it NO software update acted like I was jumping off a cliff without a bungee cord.

    Apple's wasn't nearly as bad as this and the updater app did make it clear it was a new install whether people bothered to read it or not.

    Should they have done it? NO

    Was it as bad as Microsoft? NO or at least not worse

    Was it as bad as Symantec on new Dell system that nearly blackmails you into buying their software after the 30 day trial has expired? NO it doesn't cost anything.

    Was it as bad as google toolbar being bundled with unrelated software and the install checkbox checked by default? No because this doesn't modify other apps, unlike a toolbar.

    Was this as bad as Windows Media Player 11 update that didn't tell you what was going to be updated prior to install? No, looked like a small update to WMP 10, until it started installing.

    I'm not an Apple apologizer and am quick to point out their faults, but this just seems like it isn't even worth talking about.

    Let's talk about the fact that Apple's Leopard webpage said it would sync notes and ToDos with your iPhone, but just prior to release they removed that from their web page, and the feature is no where in sight. Let's talk about their denying most devs iPhone developer status. Let's talk about XCode which can't compare to Visual Studio. Let's talk about lack of vision in the Web 2.0 arena. Let's talk about Java 6 availability for Leopard.

    These are real issues people. Not the fact that Apple uses an install method similar to MS and others.

  45. Richard
    Jobs Horns

    Disable individual updates

    For those getting annoyed by it, if you right click the program that it's trying to update you can tell it to not show that update again, meaning you can prevent Safari from ever appearing again.

    If only I could be arsed to deal with podcasts outside of iTunes I'd ditch it. Although I don't get them very often anyway. Bye bye you resource hogging piece of junk. Winamp you now get to do it all.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    RE: Firefox is no better

    Oh, shut up. You have total control over how Firefox updates.

    In your menu bar, click on Tools >Go to Options > Advanced > Update tab. Uncheck: Automatically check for updates to Firefox. Firefox will stop updating itself in the background and you can stop griping about it.

    Sheesh. Investigate your browser, a little, will ya, before you start complaining?

    And I understand what Lilley is saying. I have had things download that I haven't wanted - even after I said NO - like both Google desktop and Yahoo toolbar. I had to install both, then go uninstall them. And Microsoft decided I wanted IE7 even after I said I didn't. And let's not forget M$'s "secret" updates, and the fact that some people got them even with Automatic Updates turned off.

    I like my Mac, and I like my iPods, but I also happen to like my XP box. I really prefer to keep them separate (well, until I can run Leopard on top of Windows without having to do handstands and cartwheels to do it...)

  47. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  48. Lance

    Mozilla and security

    Mozilla has helped provide insecurity in the past. They discovered a flaw that affected both Firefox and Opera. The day after they informed Opera, they released an advisory. That didn’t give Opera enough time to provide a fix.

    Shouldn't Firefox be called Firefix?

  49. Kanhef
    Thumb Down


    It may not be a great thing for Apple to do, but setting a poor policy precedent (possibly) hardly threatens "the security of the internet". If it allowed execution of arbitrary 3rd-party code with admin privileges, there would be actual cause for concern.

  50. xSc0de
    Thumb Down


    What FireFox installs is an updated version of itself just like you are updating your other softwares for bugs for whatever... The issue here is forcing users to install software in case the user is not aware of what things are being installed. As we know, most users just click the next button while installing and as such, it undermines the user's trust of installing an update because it is installing something not really needed in the guise of an update.


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