back to article Apple update trick triples Safari share

In surreptitiously slipping Safari onto Windows by way of the Apple Updater, Steve Jobs and his minions have tripled the browser's market share. Late last month, Apple debuted Safari version 3.1, and it immediately offered the new browser to Windows users via the software updater that accompanies iTunes and Quicktime. If offer …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Sheer Deception

    This was no trick, it was a deceitful con! The Mac fanboys would have been screaming from the rafters if MS had tried to pull off this trick. It just goes to show how much Apple really care for their customers ahead of their own selfish motives!

    What makes it even worse is the Safari browser is so full of security holes that it is scary! IE or Safari ... I know which one I'd be trusting.

    Apple needs to do as suggested and uncheck these "optional new software" installs.

  2. Tyler

    "Market Share?"

    I thought when the term "market share" was used, it indicated that a particular product was actually USED by the population.

    For example, I've got Windows Media Player on my machine. I never use it. But does that the fact that it's INSTALLED count as market share?

    Likewise, my market share for web browsers should be split three ways; I've got IE, FF, and Opera installed.

    Where's an icon for confusion? More crab juice, please.

  3. Pierre

    Copy-past trick triples Cade's productivity

    Seriously, I didn't diff this article against that but it sounds quite close...

  4. Chad H.

    if I remember rightly....

    There was an article a few months back showing iPhone users were about 1% of web traffic.

    Therefore, Safari users are about a fifth of iPhone traffic.

    @ Sheer Deception - Yes, It is sheer deception what apple have done, when people want to access the internet on infected machines, whenever they attempt to double click on internet explorer, the mouse moves inexplicably to Safari.

    No, wait. It doesnt.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    awwww cummon

    "This was no trick, it was a deceitful con! "

    More like unabashed commercial opportunism. I'm amazed no-one thought of it before. Think Different.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have actually

    seen this trick being pulled before in an installer for Irfanview that wanted to also install Google toolbar had to click it to not get both. There is never anything new in this line personally I don't see that much help for Apple by having safari installed or not.

  7. Punky
    Paris Hilton

    @ Tyler

    "For example, I've got Windows Media Player on my machine. I never use it. But does that the fact that it's INSTALLED count as market share?"

    Explorer.exe has 100% market share amongst Windows users. Now that's impressive...

    Paris, because that's market penetration worth looking at.

  8. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton


    Re: Confusion icon

    Paris, because she is perpetually confused

  9. MarkMac

    Not even MS do this...

    Annoying, but unsurprising. Even with MS update, non-essential upgrades and installs are unticked. If you don't ask for .net framework or mediaplayer, you don't get it.

    Meanwhile presumably Apple think they need all the help they can get to penetrate the market, even if it is underhand help. And wasn't there a period where Quicktime updates automatically installed iTunes - or at least appeared to give you no choice by autoselecting the "with itunes" version and putting the tunesless version way down the page in tiny print.

    Apple mgmt remind me each day slightly more of Snow White's stepmother...

  10. vincent himpe
    Jobs Horns

    deceitful con ...

    Now i understand why Steve is called an iCon for the computerworld ..

  11. PunkTiger

    Watch out... Here comes the WAAAAmbulance!

    Just because Safari is installed on people's machines doesn't necessarily mean they're USING it. I can see using it maybe once or twice to see what it's like, and then go back to their browser of choice. If their browser of choice happens to be Safari, good for them.

    Penguin, because I run Debian on my main machine, and Opera as my browser of choice.

  12. Will

    Against their will?

    err, just how did IE get so popular. Oh yes, that's right. They bundled it with Windows. Just because you install it, doesn't mean you have to use it. As people are using it, they must like it?

    Now, if it removed IE and Firefox, I'd have a problem with it.

  13. Andy
    Dead Vulture

    I'm taking the bait.


    If it's NetApplications, then it means that this is supposed to, and kinda-sorta does, reflect usage... which means that these aren't people who were tricked into installing it without noticing - they're active users, giving the software a try out.

    As it has been very bluntly put before, the whole argument around the "zomg checked by default" thing makes the assumption that Windows users are all too stupid to click on a checkbox. Which I find funny as hell.

    Of course, that doesn't stop it being jumped upon by those who can't see this delicious irony, and would complain if Steve Jobs put £100 in their hand - because "he's just doing it so I'll like him" or some such. Incidentally these same people are often those irritating buggers who always complain that the weather is too hot/cold/wet/windy/dry/still, whatever weather they said they wanted yesterday, because apparently being happy is just too painful an experience.

    Cancelling my subscription, etc etc...

  14. Andy
    Paris Hilton


    - the low-hanging fruit on this story is the piss-poor Safari for Windows market share, surely?

  15. Joey Y


    "Even with MS update, non-essential upgrades and installs are unticked. If you don't ask for .net framework or mediaplayer, you don't get it."

    I always have to uncheck items in MS' auto-updater, so I do not get IE7, or MS' monthly virus remover, or especially MS Genuine Advantage (which does not help me in any way, but whose activities may be reporting information about me to MS, or which might have security vulnerabilities itself). Likewise, for those who have the "always install updates" checked, they log into their computer one morning (or evening) and find out that their web browser has changed and some websites no longer work properly.

    From the article: "The browser wasn't listed as a new program. It was listed as just another update", but the image below that sentence says "New software is available from Apple." (Yes, I know, it says "Update" in two other places, so maybe it is a wash.)

    I do hate updaters that do more than simple updates. But, Apple did a clever job of shoving Safari out to many people who would have never heard of it, then cleverly backpedalled. I bet they had it all planned out, including how long to wait after the initial outrage to release the updated updater...

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    cheap underhanded sneaky tactics from an all-image-no-substance company that appears to merely cater for the easily pleased retarded mass. ooh its shiney it must be good!1 f*uck off. and for those morons that use the bundled noiseleaking crap white earphones that come with ipods: please get mugged, you make my bus journeys a misery as im forced to listen to your tinny shit if i am within a square mile of your repulsive ego. get a brain transplant or die kthnx. </rant>

  17. Antidisestablishmentarianist


    Hey AC, um, I don't think headphones are meant to sound good to people other that those wearing them. So the fact they sound tinny to you is well, tough. Go bitch about the weather or something instead - you'll get more sympathy.

    I own an all-image-no-substance-ooh-its-shiny-it-must-be-good computer. Whilst I have mass, I'm not retarded. Maybe I'm an exception? Maybe not. Maybe I'm just a happy simple retard.

  18. Tony Paulazzo
    Jobs Horns

    Apple Hate

    I started using Quicktime Alternative the second they started bundling iTunes download with their Quicktime player...

    and that only for the rare website that only has a qt vid.

    Why do they insist on trying to shift their bloated (Windows user so I know bloated) crap on Windows, stick with Macs. The amount of customers with iTunes on their systems which I have to temp. disable just to get the machine to run at a decent enough speed to work on - generally slate of ipods & itunes to the bill payer and suggest mp3 players.

    Seriously, I've encountered virii & spyware that doesn't cripple the system as much.

  19. Patrick
    Gates Horns

    Trick? My Shiny Metal Bender the Robot!

    Of course, for this big "trick" to work, the accidental/purposeful downloaders of Safari have to

    1.) Run Safari

    2.) Prefere it and keep running it instead of I.E./Firefox/Opera/Etc.

    Now, if that is the case, then its saying something, *wink*

  20. Big Al


    All this skulduggery shows is that Apple have realised that they don't have a snowball's hope in hell of ever convincing a decent number of people to install their browser on its own merits (or lack thereof).

    If things are this bad, surely now is a sensible time to be considering moving out of the browser market entirely?

  21. Rob Griggs-Taylor


    Oh come on. It must be a seriously slow news day for this story to appear.

    Are you the sort of person who just installs updates without reading the explanatory information? Then you probably have IE7 as your default browser and you deserve it.

    At least Apple make it easy to get rid of Safari if you don't want it, unlike Microsoft. So, at worst you've wasted no more than 15 minutes downloading, installing and removing. Woohoo...

    And to double market share people actually have to use it after downloading it.

    I'm surprised that this story is generating so much news coverage. Apple even listened to the criticism and put it in a separate box marked 'New Software' and you still complain?

    Please find some more interesting 'news'. Haven't that casino in America bought any new things off ebay recently?

    Let this story lie now. It's old news.

  22. Greg


    "Hey AC, um, I don't think headphones are meant to sound good to people other that those wearing them"

    I think his point is that with decent headphones, the people around you don't hear anything at all, rather than a tinny, screeching noise that makes them want to stab you.

    I mean c'mon, if you're going to spend good money on a good player, get a decent pair of sound isolation headphones. They're better for your hearing in the end, sound better, and you won't get stabbed on the bus either.

    That said, if you were spending good money on a good player you wouldn't be buying an iPod in the first place. ;-)

  23. gabe morrow
    Thumb Down

    you got your math wrong

    according to that the overall safari marketshare has not changed hardly any acctly went down a bit

    your right the market share of Safari 3.1 has increased but mostly at the expense of Safari 3.0

  24. Paul Taylor

    What about giving it to their own users?

    Apple may be foisting Safari on Micros**t users in an underhand way, but I have one of their laptops and couldn't work out how to download Safari v3, so I switched to Firefox.

    In fact, Apple stopped talking to me ages ago, since I won't upgrade from MacOS 7.3. I'm thinking of Linuxing the thing now. I only got it in the first place because I didn't realise how good Linux distributions are nowadays at recognising hardware. In fact, several times now Ubuntu has recognised hardware and filetypes that the Mac couldn't.

    So, bye bye Steve!

  25. Shabble

    Bundled by default

    Most popular freeware titles come with bundled stuff these days, and most of it is ticked by default at the installation stage. What makes Apple particularly sneaky is that they added their extra software in at the update stage rather than the install stage where most of us know to watch for it. I now make sure I always untick Auto-update for Quicktime in both the installation phase and through the control panel settings to prevent anything like this happening again.

    On IE being bundled with Windows; it should be pointed out that in 1997 Apple did a five year deal with MS to make IE the default browser for MacOS too (note - I discovered this a few months ago on the main Wiki page for browser history, but when I went back to check this interesting fact I discovered it had been removed. I can't be bothered to correct Wiki omissions or inaccuracies any more because the corrections usually don't last, but this info remains on the IE for Mac Wiki page: Presumably this was to break the back of Netscape, which was, of course, independent from both Apple and MS.

    Face it, there is so little genuine regulation of the IT industries that most companies will happily ignore the principles of the free market, break competition laws and even commit criminal offenses if it helps increase their market share and their profits.

  26. Graham Dawson Silver badge


    My only complaint about my ipod is the lack of ogg support (yes, it's a big complaint...)

    Other than that it's got a nice UI and it works with Amarok, so I like it.

  27. John W. Naylor, Jr., P.E.

    Blacked Pot calling Kettle black again

    So let me get this straight .....

    Including a box checked by default is a big evil thing now with Safari.

    ..... but none oif these things are evil

    1) bundling IE in Windows.

    2) Making it virtually impossible to remove IE

    Talk about bias.

    And how come it wasn't quite so evil back in the 1990's (in pre "IE Bundled with Windows" days) but when we installed Quickbooks and a half dozen other programs which installed Internet Explorer and I had no opportunity to uncheck any box and not have it installed.

    I still have an NT4 box running 24/7 and remember quite well the procedure I ahd to go through.

    a) Reinstall WinNT and wind up with IE installed whether I wanted it or not. Then go to add / remove programs and remove it.

    b) Install Quickbooks and wind up with IE installed whether I wanted it or not. Then go to add / remove programs and remove it.

    c) Install AutoCAD and wind up with IE installed whether I wanted it or not. Then go to add / remove programs and remove it.

    How come fanbois all feel this is such despoicable behavior when someone else does it but it's just all fine and dandy when you fav does the same exact thing ?

    But MS took another step.....they don't let you remove it anymore. I won't defend Apple for their marketing but no people who live in crystal houses should be quite wary of throwing stones.

  28. Gary

    Apple's Windows Developments

    I have several PC's all running iTunes and Quicktime and get real guys it hardly uses up any memory!! all working hunky dory here.

    That's even on my dad's Athlon XP 2400+ / 1gb Ram

    Hell I even run it on my server as a media server.

    Please.... People go on about Quicktime being bloatware, i dont think they quite understand the power that quicktime holds. Look at your TV, a lot of things won't have been created if it weren't for Quicktime.

    And yes i do own a Macbook Pro, i gotta say that Quicktime / iTunes / Safari do run a lot better on the Mac than they do on the Windows platforms. (I have about 5 PC's + 1 Mac, + 3 Mac laptops in the household).

    Point note: Neither Firefox 2.x or IE7 Pass the Acid2 tests but safari does.

    I've used Safari, and though it looks fugly on Windows its a real nice browser on Mac. I prefer Opera on Windows and Safari on OSX Maybe it's something to do with Apple's nicely scaling font system / pdf rendering engines i dunno.


  29. Henry Wertz Gold badge


    @Graham it works with Amarok DESPITE Apple's attempts to block it. The ipod has changed it's on-disk indexing format several times. Each time the Apple fanbois say "Oh, it's only meant to be used with itunes, that's your problem, besides it's probably to make the index better." But at one point, they simply took the old format and stuck some weak crypto on it -- this was just to break 3rd-party apps.

    And, indeed, I find checkmarking other random software in an updater as greasy as hell. Apple should absolutely not be doing this. Although, frankly, it doesn't surprise me.

    @Paul Taylor, I assume you're running MacOS 10.3? OS7 didn't have Firefox as far as I know. Ubuntu 8.04 for PowerPC, the LiveCD is rather slow but it'll give you a good idea of what you're in for. It's pretty nice. For Intel Mac of course there's Ubuntu 8.04 for x86, you can run 32-bit or 64-bit version I think. The review I saw, the reviewer was trying to be..umm..diplomatic towards OSX so he wouldn't get too many flames; he sounded like he liked Ubuntu better, but overall concluded Ubuntu (7.04 I think?) versus OSX was a draw, and recommended OSX for newer machines and Ubuntu for older machines that either don't support 10.4/10.5 or where 10.4/5 are supported but slow. To find it, go to ... it's not on Ubuntu's normal pages because official PowerPC support was dropped almost 2 years ago! (Since Ubuntu is Debian with some bling, the lack of official support doesn't matter.. Debian has good PowerPC support so Ubuntu actually does too.)

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I thought ...

    I thought Windows users liked having software installed unexpectedly on their systems - that's surely why they inflict such an awful OS on themselves, the masochistic thrill of getting browser hijacked or turned into a spambot.

    Where *is* the Paris angle, hiding under my recently tripled market share ... nope, there's virtually no cheap innuendo available.

  31. The BigYin

    Confused now

    I always thought Google was the new "Evil Empire"(tm), but it is not to be Apple? Their attempt to force Safari on me royally irks me, to the point of making me consider chucking iTunes and going back to WinAmp or similar.

    Other software which defaults to installing the Yahoo!/Google/whatever toolbar/gadget also pisses me off. If I download, I expect that to only install thing.exe and supporting files; not thing. exe, googlespyware.exe, yahoomalware.exe etc. Having a hidden/near-stealth install of thrid-party apps is deceitful and a security risk (depending on the nature of the unexpected apps).


    As for unchecking a check box; Windows users are not too dumb to uncheck a check box, but the presumption is the wrong way round. It is MY PC, it is MY choice what goes on so the default should be to NOT install other crap.

    A bit like SPAM. You can just delete it (are Mac users too dumb to press delete?) but it is still wrong as the presumption is that I want 100 adverts for member enhancements, when it should be that I DO NOT. ANd site sign-ups which default to adding me to the e-crap lists get that wrong as well.

    Is bundling IE an issue? No (Ubuntu comes bundles with FireFox, Macs come bundled with Safari etc). Is making it impossible to remove an issue? Oh my yes indeedy. My PC - I should be allowed to remove what I want.

  32. John Carney
    Paris Hilton

    Depends on which market...

    The headline intrigued me because until a couple of days ago I was web development manager for a high-traffic website and I didn't notice a sudden jump in Safari traffic. What I did notice was a very rapid adoption rate of Safari 3.1 - far quicker than IE7, which tells us that Safari users are far more willing to accept updates from Apple than IE users are from Microsoft.

    The other thing we can deduce is that Safari users spend a lot of their time surfing for pr0n. How so? Well, the aforementioned "high-traffic website" is an adult website and Safari accounts for about 5% of our traffic, which is in stark contrast to the figure given here of 0.21%.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Where's the anti-trust?

    I mean, MS get a hammering for bundling IE in their own operating system as advertised as a feature of the OS, so why not Apple for installing their browser in a deceptive manner resulting in most people being unaware they have even had it installed? !

    Okay, installed doesn't mean anyone's using it. But I guess Apple are hoping they can start plugging it and "hey, you already have it installed, so go use it because obviously it's better/safer than IE" (obviously not of course).

  34. Anonymous Coward

    Pervert Safari Users??

    So does that mean Safari users are big perverts or perverts are more inclined to be Safari users!

  35. tempemeaty
    Thumb Down

    I remember the last time...they used it to slip everyone a DRM.

    Great trick. I have also one. * fwip* That's the sound of me closing my wallet.

    Anyone remember that this is how they slipped in a DRM that hosed a lot of computers. That was a gift not asked for. Well what's to come of it is not good for the Apple's over all market share. My suggestion to the slip-tards/update-tards at Apple is to stop slipping things covertly by use of the update right here before they lose their momentum in the market because this is sure to kill it if they go this one more.

  36. JohnG

    @John W. Naylor

    "2) Making it virtually impossible to remove IE" and "But MS took another step.....they don't let you remove it anymore."

    In XP, Start, Control Panel, Add or Remove Programs, Add/Remove Windows Components, uncheck the box next to Internet Explorer and click "Next".....

    Doesn't seem "virtually impossible" to me.

    The point is that Microsoft was rightly criticised for their tactics concerning the bundling of IE (and even taken to court). Apple should expect to receive the same treatment for the itunes update fiasco.

    Personally, I think pretending it was a required update for itunes will backfire on Apple - many people will assume Safari must be crap if Apple have to sneak it onto their computer in the same way they might get some adware or spyware.

  37. Daniel Bennett

    It Needs

    A "Dont show this again" option to stop the safari being asked to install.

    I don't want it!!

  38. Anonymous Coward


    All Apple want is more publicity. By getting all worked up about this, we're playing into their hands and giving Safari way more exposure than it deserves.

    Just do the decent thing and drop your installation folder into the skip marked "Fugly, Insecure Also-Rans Installed By Stealth And Therefore Not Welcome".

    Job(s) done.

  39. This post has been deleted by its author

  40. Tony

    What's the big deal...?

    After all - it's only a 22Mb download for a browser...! And hard drive space is sooo cheap now what does it matter if every company with a product to plug slaps it in while you aren't looking?

    You guys need to lighten up ;)

  41. Barry
    Thumb Up

    iTunes update? No, thanks

    I didn't notice this problem with Safari. Every time iTunes tells me it has an update available, I tell it to f*** off.

    Oops, wrong digit raised.

  42. 4video

    2 check or uncheck that is the ?

    That is a sneaky trick on Apples part - but no different then Yahoo toolbar - or Google tool bar.... I have had to uninstall it 1000X ( Seriously) because customers don't want it...but got it with one of those "prechecked boxes" LOL sometimes I see people with the MSN - Google-Yahoo and Web search toolbars.... So can we just have a universal rule here - no pre checked boxes people have to uncheck? And lets keep the uninstall feature simple for users. That is my perspective.

  43. Graham Lockley

    Aint happening here

    After battling with Quicktimes habit of slapping stuff in my start up, when somebody gave me an Ipod I didnt let it near my system until I had figured out how to use it without Itunes. Sorted, got a copy of Sharepod and now I dont have to put up with the annoying 'updates' slipping on to my systems. Maybe I will download a copy of Safari to evaluate (always ready to look at alternatives) but it will arrive because I choose to try it , NOT because I am being nagged to get it.

  44. Gordon Pryra

    Theres Nothing wrong with this

    I reckon Steve Jobs has just used the prototype "opt out clause" as agreed by the Home Secretary as "legal" for use by Phorm/BT/Virgin/Any other untrustworthy company

  45. Anonymous Coward


    This article is de ja vu of the previous article about Apple updating their Update software to sort into New + Updates, but been re-cycled for this market share article. And once again many wintards are forgetting the plethora of other Windows applications which by default has the checkbox ticked to install Google, Yahoo and various other Spyware related toolbars for legitimate programs you install, including Adobe Acrobat, Irfranview, etc. So people need to admit their double standards for only attacking Apple over doing what many others have done long before them on Windows, and admit they just can't hold back their hatred at any chance to diss Apple, even when there is no legitimate reason.

  46. Liam
    Jobs Horns


    ffs at bundling IE with windows...

    so how are people supposed to download another browser? order a cd? this is stupid!

    safari is installed on apple so why shouldnt MS install IE. they dont force you to use it! i wonder if apple has a section asking if you want to remove safari and set something else as the default.

    why would you want to uninstall IE anyway. i have multiple browsers on this system (safari, IE7, firefox and opera) and yes, i use IE. mainly because a lot of idiots cannot create sites for the other browsers and i find it faster. BUT i can happily not use it.

    the main reason people were pissed is that doing a s/w UPGRADE shouldnt install otehr s/w. fair enough if you download something new, just not an update.

    safari is also not a nice experience for me... why does all the text look bold? and the tabs are herad to read. for an apple product (form over function usually) it looks CRAP!

  47. Tony Paulazzo
    Gates Halo

    Legit reason for dissing Apple

    >they just can't hold back their hatred at any chance to diss Apple, even when there is no legitimate reason.<

    You've just given one, they're Apple. /joke

    But in all seriousness, why are itunes and quicktime one download? neither depends on the other so why not offer them as two - seperate - downloads, by default?

    Saint Bill.

  48. Steven Freeman
    Gates Horns

    Sheer Laziness

    I think what that Mac company has done is actually funny as hell, and excellent opportunism. It serves everyone right that now has Safari on their machine. People should learn to read what they are installing, whether its through an update agent or through an full exe install. Its through sheer laziness that users will end up having safari on their machines. At least its not as bad as that other huge company, Miscrosoft I think their name is, actually forcing a browser on you when installing an operating system.

  49. nicholas king
    IT Angle


    as far as i am aware every os i have used/installed forces a browser on you, i have a ubuntu, mac os x and xp box. Each one has come with a browser pre installed :-D

  50. Niall Campbell

    lest we forget...

    I run Windows XP on a bootcamp partition on my intel mac and I never installed crapware MSN messenger.

    I've uninstalled the rubbish but everytime I boot into Windows, the bloody thing is back there running in the background and using my resources.

    IE is awful, Safari on Windows is slightly better (only just) and Firefox has it's own specific idiosyncracies.

    What all purveyors of software should realise is that their wares should be istalled through choice and not through the backdoor of idle clickers.

    If I want it, I'll install it, if I don't I won't! Stop treating me like a three year old.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    @Liam @Nicolas King

    If you want rid of Safari on an Apple Mac, then just drag the app to the waste bin. One move, one file: gone. Try that with IE7, or 6 or Opera, or FireFox

    Anyway, enough of this rubbish - PR people are the same the world over - whether it is Apple, or Google, or MS they all want you to use their stuff, and their bonuses depend on succeeding. In much the same way, the developers at Apple, and Google, and MS are all the same breed. The differences lie in the management of these companies, and how they react to their customers. I think we all know how much attention they pay at MS: "We will keep XP on sale if anyone asks, but they haven't yet" ???

  52. Michael


    It's not the Microshaft is the patron saint of honesty. It's that Apple isn't either. When MS does something even remotely shady, the Apple fanboys are the first to point and laugh, and now those same fanboys get indignant when everyone else points out Apple doing equally shady things.

    It's called a double standard, Apple folks, and it's the pinnacle of idiotic devotion.

  53. John Savard

    Not fooled

    When my copy of Quick Time triggered Apple Updater, and I saw the computer wanted to install the iTunes store on my machine, I said no. Only after I heard about this did I go back and request Safari. I don't think the security of the Internet is endangered by people checking if they really want to install this or that update some piece of software wants to put on their computers; quite the reverse, actually.

  54. George

    Apple Virus

    For me unwanted installation of software is simply a Virus.

    Apple went too far.

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