Yesterday I stated my position on Apple’s use of their Windows Software Updater to “update” Safari on systems that don’t run it. Many other bloggers, analysts, etc. posted their positions as well.
There’s been a lot of debate about it, so today I thought I’d take a second look by reviewing some of the recent commentary on this topic.
First, see the comments to my first post that since Apple means no harm, and other’s are doing it, then it’s OK. After all, this is to some extent the Windows world (with which I don’t disagree). But I touched on that in my post, and simply don’t think it’s a valid reason. Apple has made their way by not doing what others do, and I’m not sure they should change now.
Second, John Lily of Mozilla blogged about this. As you might expect, it’s not favorable. But Lily is a bit irrational when it comes to Safari on Windows. I’m sorry, but he lost credibility when he put on a tin foil hat and started babbling about “a world of tight control” when Apple simply introduced Safari for Windows in the first place! Given how he freaked out at just the product’s introduction, he must be wetting himself now.
Just as before, a public event (and free publicity) Lily could have used to promote Firefox was wasted. It turned into a lecture about “the trust relationship great companies have with their customers”. Have you seen the Customer Satisfaction scores for Apple, John? Have you noticed the brand loyalty? I’d say Apple “trust” is running pretty high right now. Maybe you should take notes.
Third, Paul Thurrott naturally drools all over Lily’s piece. Remember, Paul is objective about Apple (because he tells us so) so we can take his opinion seriously. The voice of reason, if you will. And yet, when he says stuff like this:
I’d also like you to silently imagine, for a moment, the outrage that would break out if Microsoft were to try something like this.
You have to puke. Paul, Microsoft did do this. Only worse. Silently. In the background. Under the guise of “security” updates. They did it with WGA, too. At least Apple makes you click ‘Install’ before it does anything.
It appears there are no limits to Paul’s shillness. Not that this would be a surprise to anyone who reads his stuff.
Fourth, Daring Fireball (and others) posed this question:
Would it make a difference is the checkbox for Safari were off by default instead?
A fair question. I’ve made remarks about how the current method relies on Apple “tricking” the user into the installation, or that it requires the user to be “asleep at the wheel”. If the box were not checked by default, then the user must specifically initiate an action to have the product installed — a big difference.
In this scenario, if the user is inattentive, or “asleep”, or even just blindly following the suggested “updates”, then Safari would not be installed. It seems to me this approach would have created a lot less furor. Unfortunately, it’s not the approach Apple took so we’ll never know.
Finally, Joe Wilcox has weighed in on this again. As his original post is the one that seems to have touched off this debate to begin with, it’s an interesting read.
Basically, Joe says since Microsoft does it, so should Apple:
Apple’s Safari distribution tactic is sheer brilliance. Apple is co-opting Microsoft’s monopoly product. Other developers shipping updaters should follow Apple’s approach.
Windows is the biggest software distribution mechanism on the planet… Microsoft pushes loads of full software products through Windows Update that aren’t already installed on the end user’s PC
This argument just brings us full circle, back to what began this post: Apple should do it because others do. I find that just a little too convenient.
Basically, what I’m looking for here is for Apple to “think different”, as I’ve come to expect from them. But perhaps this is their way of saying that — on Windows — they can’t?