Apple makes concession on pushing Safari to Windows users

Separates updates and new offers, but Mozilla wants more

Apple has changed its software update tool for Windows users so that it separates updates for already-installed programs from offers to install new software.

Last month, John Lilly, Mozilla's CEO, took Apple to task for using the update tool, familiar to Windows users as the mechanism for updating iTunes, to push the Safari browser to people who had not previously installed the program. Lilly said the practice "undermines the Internet" and "borders on malware distribution practices."

Lilly's comments, which appeared in a blog post, raised a furor, with Apple defenders calling his criticisms, among other things, a "mountain out of a molehill" and a "load of crap."

Apple has updated the Windows utility, dubbed "Software Update," to version 2.1. That version features a split-pane displays that lists "Updates" atop and "New Software" below. On Windows XP and Vista machines sans Safari, for instance, the Apple browser appears in the New Software section, with its selection box pre-checked.

Mozilla noticed the change.

Asa Dotzler, Mozilla's director of community development, said the move was "an important, though not sufficient, improvement" and called on Apple to go a step further. "Now Apple needs [to] stop checking the box for 'New Software' items by default," he said in a post to his blog.

In his March reproach of Apple, Lilly had also brought up the checked-by-default box; today he echoed Dotzler. "Good change! A bit more to do..." he wrote on his blog.

It's unclear when Apple first started offering Software Update 2.1; there was no mention of it on Apple's Web site, for example. On Windows Vista, however, the installed tool carries a date stamp of April 11.

"In this latest release we have made it easier for customers to identify between software updates and new applications," said Apple spokesman Anuj Nayar. He declined to comment on whether Apple made the change in response to last month's criticisms, or if it would consider Mozilla's request to deselect the Safari install box.

Apple updated, Safari to 3.1.1 yesterday fixing four flaws in the Windows version and two in the Mac edition. One of the two bugs on the Mac side had been used in a hacker contest last month by a researcher who took home a $10,000 check and the MacBook Air notebook he hacked.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?