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Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari in web wrangle

I’ve been reading excerpts from Mozilla’s COO John Lilly’s comments about Apple’s Safari release for Windows all over the web. I finally decided to track his ‘blog down and read his story as-is. And I’m pretty glad I did, too…

Some of the articles I read that featured his comments were good examples of how to take comments badly out of context.

Sure, there was an everything-after-the-but-is-bullshit moment at the beginning, when he makes a tentative nod towards his purchasing habits, but what I read thereon in was pretty level-headed stuff.

Would a dignified silence have been the wiser option? I don’t know. That’s not my style, so I can’t comment on that as a strategy.

And when dealing with Steve Jobs and his all-enveloping Reality Distortion Field, would some distance is required, too?

I think John is spot on about Steve Job’s very deliberate choice of graphics to illustrate a point:

“But make no mistake: this wasn’t a careless presentation, or an accidental omission of all the other browsers out there, or even a crummy marketing trick. Lots of words describe Steve & his Stevenotes, but ‘careless’ and ‘accidental’ do not. This is, essentially, the way they’re thinking about the problem, and shows the users they want to pick up.”

So I’m with John, he said what needed to be said.

Apple rush in where angels fear .. and then call their IT support desk for help!

From an email from Equinux, the developers of iSale:

“Apple recently released Safari 3 Public Beta – a first public preview of its popular web browser. Along with the browser, Apple introduced a new version of the WebKit framework. This framework is used by many applications to handle web pages and previews. iSale uses WebKit in order to preview auction drafts before uploading eBay auctions. Unfortunately, the WebKit version that comes with Safari 3 is still buggy (that’s why it’s released as beta) and should therefore not be used in a production environment.

We informed Apple about this issue and it will be solved in the final version of Safari 3. Until then we strongly recommend not using the beta version with iSale 4! This information will also be made available on our support page very soon.

If you installed Safari 3 Public Beta, you can use the uninstaller that comes with the download to remove this version completely. The uninstaller will replace Safari 3 Beta with your previous stable copy of Safari 2.”

I suspect the same may be true of the OmniWeb web browser for the Mac, too.

This is not good practice. It’s sending out a signal that’s permeating very negative waves through their very own developer community.

On the one hand, Apple want WebKit to be the de facto HTML rendering engine, yet when people adopt it, Apple go and faff around with it and break their stuff.

So what are Apple playing at?

I made a comment about the Safari on Windows news quite recently:

“I get the feeling Apple aren’t so much interested in the market share, but more the out-reach thing to make their (up-coming?) services work better under Windows.

Also, there’s the annoyance / disruptive element. Getting right under the skins of Messrs. Gates & Balmer would be sure to place smiles on certain high-ranking faces at Apple…”

When I look at Apple, I see a company looking to gel the best of what’s free (I’m thinking of the free stuff in the Mac OS X operating system) with the best of what’s proprietary (and I’m thinking about the internal stuff at Apple, like Dashboard and their UI) and how they can meld them seamlessly.

But for all of their smarts, they can’t write the script that Firefox will happily recite to all and sundry. So here’s where Apple need to look beyond partnering and go it alone .. again.

And with Apple being Apple, they need to control the horizontal and the vertical. So whatever it is that Apple are playing at, I can smell a loss-leader.

If we’ve learnt anything about Apple in recent years, it’s that one thing generally leads to another. So it’s unlikely that Safari is a one-shot play for just market share.

I’d put good money on there being more than one angle to this.

Could it be a transition of sorts? Probably not. But it might well be a prelude to a more capable and versatile version of .Mac coming our way RSN!

Something with plenty of room for video, photos, music and then sharing all that stuff – bringing the Mac ease-of-use to a web browser near you?

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By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari in web wrangle”

Nice one, Anonymous!

That’s good news because OmniWeb is damn good browser, only let down because it uses WebKit.

But that’s just my opinion…

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