back to article Jobs: one more thing... a browser war

Steve Jobs has re-kindled the browser wars - only this time Firefox is in the firing line, as well as Microsoft. Apple's CEO today opened his company's developer conference in San Francisco, where he outlined an ambitious target to take over Firefox's 15 per cent market share. How? By releasing a Windows version of Apple's less- …

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Law

re: re: iTunes

Dominic - you are wrong. iTunes is bundled with Quicktime for Windows... I used to get forced to go several layers into the site to get an un-bundled version. Normal people wouldn't notice the checkbox with the latest download site. Don't believe me? Check yourself!! :)

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/

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C

Safari? No thanks

Just tried it. No, it's not faster than FireFox. If anything, Firefox is twice as fast. And not only that, Safari doesn't give anywhere near the choices and flexibility FireFox does - and that's not even looking at all the extensions that are so easy to get for FireFox.

Downloads: in Firefox, you can choose to either have them downloaded automatically to your folder of choice, OR you can choose to have it ask you every time you download a new file. That's always been my preference - I want to put it where I want it when I download it, not have to go browse to some arbitrary downloads folder and then move it where I actually want it. In Safari, you just get to choose which folder is your downloads folder. No thanks.

Tab bar: In FireFox you can choose to have your tab bar shown all the time, or hidden when you don't have more than one tab open. No such option in Safari. No thanks.

And there's many more such things. Unfortunately for you Mr. Jobs, if I really wanted a browser that dumbed-down I'd just use IE7 and done with it. But I want a browser that lets me choose what I want, not stick me with what some clueless moron in a suit thinks I want. No thanks.

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Rob

Personally...

...I use Firefox 2 on Mac for most web tasks, whilst reserving use of Safari for downloading pornography.

That way, if I need to "clear my tracks" I can just flush the cookies and browse history without it impacting my mainstream browser.

If I had Safari for Windows, I would no doubt apply the same practice there too.

;-)

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Safari 3 is Beta software!

I think a lot of this discussion is missing a key point, Safari 3 is still in beta. Betas crash and burn at times.

Some valid points about the beta that are irritations in using it is the lack of support for current HTML standards. This means that simple things like line returns are ignored. So that is definitely something that must be fixed before the mainstream would ever start using it on Windows.

Firefox is superior to Safari on both Windows and Mac OS X, at least for now. However I have found very little mainstream usages of a browser on the Mac platform that Safari can't handle. Again what it can't do are irritating but would hardly compel me to say it sucks. It is pretty damned fast.

Opera is not as fast as it once was but competitive with Firefox. Seamonkey never won me over. I liked the email client though.

I guess the real point here is look at how many competitive browsers there are and every damned one of them is faster than IE 7 and the majority do everything IE 7 does. Still between IE 6 and IE 7 you have an 80% or so market share. I recall in 1995 when MS and Netscape were going at it and the competitive environment back then was really driving the innovation of browser technologies. MS started off with less than a 5% market share and everyone laughed. Netscape still charged for their browser back then. MS gave their browser away and most people in comments on sites like this one said that IE wasn't worth anything therefore they could not charge for it.

How IE came to be the dominant browser cuased a lot of legal issues for MS to be sure but the end result is the same. If Apple can create some competition in the market place and erode IE's strangle hold on market share I am all in favor of it. Maybe everyone will benefit from the competition and browsers will become streamlined applications with minimum code to do the task. Wouldn't that be nice.

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Anonymous Coward

Worst Idea Ever

I'm a big fan of Apple and Jobs, but unless they get serious about making Safari more standards-compliant and stable, this is going to make my life more worse, not better. At least the bugs in IE are well-documented, and finding workarounds is easy with Google. Safari is a mystery, because even on the Mac the market share isn't quite enough to spend much time on.

A few years ago, iTunes was seen as the way to get Windows users hooked on QuickTime as the Mac gateway drug, but Flash stole that market out from under Apple. This attempt to use iTunes as the delivery method for Safari as the gateway drug will fare even more poorly, because Firefox already stole the market. I am unimipressed.

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bundling iTunes

"You can't really knock Apple for bundling when they're only trying to keep up with the competition." Dean Varney

Umm... I think I can. Just because M$ are worse offenders doesn't excuse it. I've _never_ wanted to download or install iTunes (or have it run on startup) but the bundling with Quicktime has always made me do that, then jump through the hoops of getting rid of it. Malware.

That said, it is a drop in the ocean compared with what M$ get up to. :)

I've had another look and can't detect any great increase in speed over FF/IE7.

Unimpressive. But is is only a beta

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Safari on windows

If putting Safari on Windows means that iTunes and Quicktime STOP using Exploder proxy settings I for one will be delighted.

As for the iPhone, it won't have to be THAT good to knock any Windows Mobile smartphone into a cocked hat. The UI on an iPhone will make a touchscreen phone a joy to use. As an HTC Magician user I will switch provider to get my hands on one. Synchronisation works better with The Missing Sync than it does with ActiveSync,

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Useful for web development, for those of us who care about compatibility anyway.

As a web developer who makes an effort to have sites work cross-browser, this offers the possibility of *removing* the need to have a Mac on hand for testing purposes.

Given the choice, my preferred environment is neither Windows or the Mac, but I need to have a Windows box around for IE testing anyway, so being able to run Safari on there too would be great.

I suppose I could always just use Konqueror as a Safari stunt double, but it's nice to know that a site works for the actual browser, not just it's near-relative. If I need one less computer to do that, all the better.

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Anonymous Coward

Rabid Firefox fans

Kind of funny that the rabid Firefox fans here are so anti-Safari. Don't you folks realise that the more popular Safari proves to be on Windows, the better for Firefox and web standards it will be? Why? Because Safari will *not* take market share away from Firefox - it is a browser aimed at people who browse lightly per session and don't want or need power-user features such as extensions, etc. IOW, if it does get adopted by anyone, it will be adopted by current IE users first. Imagine market share stats (if not better ones) in a years time that read Firefox 15 to 20%, Safari 15 to 20% and IE 65 to 55% instead of the current stats of Firefox 15%, Safari 5%, IE 75% (note, I've given a generous 5% share to all other browsers). That is just a win-win situation for Firefox users no matter which way you look at it, because it is IE that is going down, not Firefox.

FWIW, wrt to web standards, Safari/WebKit/Konquerour is *more* compliant than Firefox. As one small example, WebKit (and therefore Safari 2, not 3) was the first rendering engine to pass the Acid2 test, and that was donkey's ago. Where WebKit has been historically deficient is in JS support, not web standards support. This is why, browser sniffing idiocy aside, many of the sites that don't work in Safari 2 fail, not because of a lack of web standards support. Both have been improved immensely in the latest versions of WebKit. For those people saying, "Safari just isn't compatible with many websites", this will change to "Safari just wasn't compatible with many websites"

FWIW, I don't use Safari. It is too feature-light for my tastes. I use Firefox on my work PC and OmniWeb (another WebKit based browser) on my Mac. Interestingly, OmniWeb is a good example of an advantage that Safari has over Firefox - the rendering engine (WebKit) is just much easier to adopt and use in other applications by other developers than Gecko. Therefore, we could actually see even more third-party browsers on the Windows platform, offering unique and great features unavailable elsewhere, but sharing a common open source rendering engine in WebKit.

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Maybe next he'll grace us with Finder.....

I'll use Safari on my Windows box as soon as Saint Steve lets me dual boot to OSX on the same box.

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What makes me laugh (and cry)...

...is that by sticking Safari on Windows computers, he's going to put off any Windows users who've never used a Mac to switch.

I use Mac & PC daily - I must prefer the Mac because I don't swear as much when I'm using it. But that said, Safari is wank.

Hardly suprising Firefox are happy, they need a new browser war to get people talking about them again - not that I think this is going to me much of a war, more a school playground kicking.

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billions of iTunes downloads

Yeah ... but lots of those iTunes "downloads" are because Apple force-feeds them that when you try to download Quicktime. I didn't use it, but I made the mistake of letting a friend have Admin. access to my laptop and got riddled with iTunes. (I have only used it twice, and that was because my girlfriend has an iPod).

I don't want the POS player if I don't have an iPod!!!

And for locking up the iPhone... great. Now I know I am definitely *not* buying one. If I were to buy a phone that costs as much as a PDA (or hell, a damn PS3), I expect it to very well damn do what a PDA does, develop software like I do with PDAs. Web 2.0 "apps" are a joke, and more so with mobiles.

So for that, I'll stick with my $240 SonyEriccson W300i. It plays MP3's, has 1Gb capacity, and I can develop software on it with MIDP. It looks like Apple threw a "Sony PSP" to the people, that is: good tech, overpriced, and devels unable to fully tap the device.

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Ugly

Ok, I tried it, Win XP

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Title

And... it cut off my comment. I was just saying i was using XP sp 1, it was ugly, but it worked. All the comment was in the text box, and i didn't click preview (idiot) just post. I guess I lied, it's ugly AND it DOESN'T work. $firefox++

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Web standards

Daniel Voyce wrote:

"How compliant is Safari? Are we talking Microsoft compliant or Firefox compliant?"

Definitely Firefox compliant. While Safari/Konqueror boast of passing the acid2 test, both they and Opera, another with acid2 credentials, have oddities that are head scratchers. They are still miles ahead of IE of any version.

Porting Safari to Windows is a Good Thing® for consumer choice and for developer testing.

cheers,

gary

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Don't forget the other browsers.

Of course, even if you discount the browsers that share codebases with the more popular ones (EG Netscape/Camino or derived versions of NCSA Mozaic) there are always other forgotten gems that don't get the attention they deserve, like textmode browsers: lynx-like, links-like (especially elinks which is really quite advanced, nicely fast and has fairly decent javascript/ecmascript and CSS) or even, if what you need is not a browser but a retriever, curl, wget, fetch and all the rest.

Or, to hell with it - let's all go back to gopher and FTP. You never got the gopher browser or FTP program wars, did you? Yes! I'm going to see how long I can manage without a web browser, starting now! Oh, hang on a minute ...

Cheers,

Sabahattin

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Yawn, works fine for me too

but I'm still on Windows 2000 .... I wonder if it works on Wine .....

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"Performance"

I went looking for the performance benchmarks listed by Apple on the Safari 3 Beta pages.

It appears they ceased being developed/supported last year (as of July 2006)

http://www.lionbridge.com/lionbridge/en-us/services/outsourced-testing/benchmark-software.htm

For the record, i downloaded this and tested it as part of my role.

It manages t ooccupy more space on screen than IE7, and looks terrible thanks to the apple style skin. (Man, is it ugly). It looks really bad on a low res screen. (17" LCD for the record") note the sample pictures are on a very high res screen.

I found the fonts unreadable at any setting, and agree with the general trend of comments that this is substandard for "beta" software.

Moreover, the so-called intuitive bookmark system occupies extra space on screen, and as no one i know uses itunes the layout was unfamiliar and unpleasant to use.

I am going to copy this text to their feedback too, so that they know.

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Re: Web Standards

As said above, Safari is very standards complaint - something IE7 isn't exactly hot on.

I'm a web dev and develop pretty much exclusively on Safari, it's never crashed on me and i've only noticed a few oddities with layout... the fonts etc are much clearer and easier to read though so i'll stick with it.

I love the way people bark at a choice... you don't have to use FFS, use what you like. There are people out there (like me) who will use Safari, i use Firefox too as some of the third party add ons are great - most notably the Web Developer toolbar. I have a blanket ban on IE7 at my office, everyone uses Firefox, but the Macs all prefer to use Safari and i'm perfectly happy to allow that.

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Like puppets on a string ...

Well done Jean-Baptiste. I see your emotive twist on events has produced the rabid frothing at the mouth you were obviously aiming to evoke. Is that a sick twisted humor kind of thing?

For the record SJ didn't say anything about taking over Firefox market share, just to "try" and grow Safari's. But that doesn't sound very exciting does it, so stealing from Firefox is a much better spin on events.

As for the iPhone, yeah it's disappointing. I'd love to see Tomtom Navigator on it right now, and even more, OmniGroup's up and coming killer GTD app: OmniFocus. But I guess that Apple have their hands full entering a new market with new business partners, while readying their October push in the OS wars, and developing the next ramp up of their system portfolio to deal with the uncertainty of a real SDK for the iPhone right now. Apple are not omnipotent or omnipresent.

One thing we can all be sure of, Jean-Baptiste. Apple are smarter than you; are more patient, and have demonstrated of late that they know their customer base very well.

The iPhone is a new platform for Apple at the beginning of its life cycle. It'll develop over time, and an SDK is still a strong possibility. But only when Apple are sure they can do it right.

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Anonymous Coward

Jobs?

Oh Boy... Another successful product release for Apple. Put in the pile with Job's other stuff, Newton, The black box, original Mac, etc. etc etc. The only smart one was Wozniac who took the money and ran.

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