Apple has officially begun pushing their Safari web browser into Windows users by way of iTunes. This was in the cards ever since Steve Jobs announced Safari for Windows last year.
This started on Tuesday, when Apple released version 3.1 of Safari. What makes the move unique is that Apple Software Update is rarely used to promote new software. Typically, you get the Update utility whenever you install any Apple software on a Windows machine, such as Quicktime or iTunes. Usually, you’ll only be given updates to those software. Using the same medium to push a product the person never downloaded is new territory.
When jobs announced Safari for Windows, he said:
“Hundreds of millions of Windows users already use iTunes, and we look forward to turning them on to Safari’s superior browsing experience, too.”
To clarify, Apple is not forcing Safari onto your computer. That would, almost literally, cause a war of the nerds. Instead, it is just showing the browser in the Update utility. You can uncheck it to decline. This is actually very similar to Microsoft using Windows Update to push Internet Explorer 7 even though you can decline it.
Personally, I find it a little odd that Apple’s music player is being used to distribute unrelated applications. Word has it that iTunes will also be the distribution medium for iPhone third-party applications (allowing Apple to control it, of course).
Are we going to see iTunes get renamed? Perhaps iDownloader? iGimme? iWannaMoreCrap? I mean, we wouldn’t see Microsoft using Media Player to push a web browser, would we?