Originally Published 2007-06-14 22:23:05
According to BusinessWeek, Apple Reignites the Browser Wars by releasing Safari on Windows. What impact will this really have? For Apple, some. For the world at large, even us geeks? Not so much. Here's my off-the-cuff take:
- Apple porting software to Windows in an effort to win some mindshare is interesting if you got to the MacWorld Expo every year. (Before you flame my ho-hum attitude, know that I used to. I probably know more Apple trivia and history than you. Go ahead, challenge me, it'll be fun.) But 2-3% of the market (which is nothing if not pure speculation) isn't all that interesting unless you happen to be increasing to that metric from 0%. So yay for Apple, but yawn for everyone else.
- This is nice for web developers if, and only if, we can use Safari on Windows and nail the Mac OS Safari user base. This seems possible, because, as BusinessWeek notes, "Jobs also offered Safari's underlying Web technologies to outside software developers so they could write programs for Apple products, including the iPhone, the company's latest potential blockbuster product that goes on sale June 29." Nevertheless, I'll believe that one when I see it. This also begs the question of whether or not Windows with Safari is a reason not to by a Mac. I doubt it (If you buy a PC just for the browser, run Firefox on Linux for godsakes!), but it's worth acknowledging the question. Still not a real big win or loss, though, either way. Web Developers as a demographic do not a measurable market share make. And good ones already run lots of different platforms anyway, so this doesn't even register as news.
- Microsoft has bigger fish to fry. They're far more concerned about iPod than they are Safari. Not to mention the herd of elephants in the room with "GOOG" tattooed on their bums.
- Um, what about Firefox? You know, the other Mozilla-based browser that has 3-4 times the market share of Safari?
In my mind, the only interesting tidbit in this article has nothing to do with Internet Explorer or Microsoft (Note how well BW has done with their title -- talk about link bait!). It's the question of how closed the iPhone platform will be. As the article notes, "The announcement begins to answer some software companies' concerns over howâ€”and whetherâ€”Apple would let them build iPhone products."
If that sounds like a formidable task, it is. I've been doing that sorta thing for years on PDAs with AvantGo.
There's no doubt in my mind that the iPhone will be an incredible success as a consumer electronics device. Whether or not it gets a lot of traction among corporate users (using SalesForce or otherwise) will be an interesting story to watch unfold over the next couple of quarters.
Oh, and if you're interested in having a look at Safari for Windows yourself, here's the download link. Apparently there's already 1 million like-minded folk.