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Fragmented Development

Safari for Windows: A Brilliant Move

In an earlier post, I described why I thought it was brilliant of Apple to release the Safari browser for PC. Now that I have a little more time to elaborate, I will do so.

Number One: Compatibility

By far and away, the best reason for Apple to bring their browser to Windows is compatibility. As a Windows user, I download each and every browser out there that will run on my PC. I have IE going all the way back to version 3, Netscape from Navigator 2 Gold and forward, a bunch of old Opera and Firefox versions, and even some from the text-based realm like Lynx. I don't use them all the time, but I've loaded each of my layouts in them at least once.

I also keep a Linux boot CD handy - Knoppix for KDE, Ubuntu for Gnome (I also use Kubuntu from home, but don't have that CD at work. Go figure) - and I test those environments as well. Linux users don't make up a large share of my visitors, but so what. They'll never make up a large share if my sites don't work on their browsers.

Macs presented a special problem. While their browser, Safari, was based on KHTML, it did things a little differently. Also, Macs are not cheap, so buying one just for testing purposes was completely out of the question. My solution was to load up as many of my sites in Safari whenever I had access to a Mac, and hope that they rendered well.

But with Safari on Windows, my problem is solved. I can make sure all of my pages render for my Mac friends, and I don't have to invest a dime. This gives anyone using a Mac a better chance of viewing a well-polished page, which will make for a better experience for Mac users. What company wouldn't want more satisfied customers?

Number Two: Familiarity

I am a PC user, and I hate Windows. It's clunky, ugly, bloated, buggy, insecure, and expensive. I would love to get away from Windows... but I can't.

I've spent nearly fifteen years learning how everything works on Windows, and I couldn't possibly just jump into a new environment. I've looked into converting to Linux, but it hasn't come together for me just yet. I've given some thought to Macs, but never very seriously, because Macs are completely foreign to most PC users. I wouldn't really know where to start, because I'm not familiar with any of the programs or interfaces.

This is where the real genius is. ITunes, Safari, and QuickTime are all common occurances on most PCs nowadays. All of them sport the brushed Mac interface, all of them share their counterpart's functionality, all of them have versions that are free to download and use. Everyone using this software has a little Mac exposure. Each installation is like an Apple ambassador, bringing the everyday PC user a taste of the good life - and making it a little bit easier to warm up to a Mac. If you've used all of the programs, then half the battle has already been fought.

Number Three: See One and Two

That's really all their is to it. Apple has made a very strategic move by releasing Safari on Windows, one that I do not believe they will regret.

Tags: browsers

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