Angelic Apple apes Microsoft's bully-boy ways

It must be tough being Microsoft. No matter how shiny you make your OS, nor how much money your former figurehead doles out to the needy, geeks the world over think of you as 'The Man'.

And they stick it to The Man on a daily basis. It's the price of global supremacy.

Conversely, upstart rivals such as Apple can box any old under-specced tat in shiny white plastic, and watch herds of rabid fanboys rush to splash the cash. But now angelic Apple is apeing Microsoft's bully-boy ways.

The decision to ram Safari down Windows users' bloatware-stuffed throats (as an iTunes 'update') suggests that Apple may be prepared to trade its enviable image for a greater share of the Web-browser market.

Are you an iTunes user? Have you never before used Safari? You're about to get a new window on the online world... ready or not.

Certainly, the fine folks over at Mozilla are unimpressed. The Firefox-toting foundation's CEO John Lilly blogged: "What Apple is doing now with their [sic] Apple Software Update on Windows... undermines the trust relationship great companies have with their customers, and that's bad – not just for Apple, but for the security of the whole Web."

Well, quite.

What Lilly neglected to say is that Apple's actions are bad... for Mozilla, because it can't hope to reach as many technophobe punters as iTunes can.

It is, at the very least, cheeky of Apple to foist its software on unsuspecting users. And it's a move that has 'PR-disaster potential' written all over it.

Fast Safari may be, but not even the most rabid Mac-lover would claim that its Web browser is so much better than IE or Firefox that it will convert users by its very Appley presence. Seems it's a gamble Apple is willing to take, however.

Because Apple, for so long a hardware manufacturer that made software (to flog hardware), recognises a couple of salient facts. Firstly, the future for you, me and just about everything is online. And if you control the browser, you control the user.

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Matt Egan

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