Kahney: "Safari sucks"

Kahney: "Safari sucks"

Summary: This morning I wondered if I'd been a little harsh on Apple's latest attempt to "Wow!" Windows users over to Mac. After all, Safari is just in beta and we should all be kind to projects in beta. But when I discovered that Leander Kahney of the Cult of Macintosh had yesterday come out with pretty much the same assessment of Safari for Windows that I did, I'm now wondering whether I wasn't harsh enough on Apple's latest offering.

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This morning I wondered if I'd been a little harsh on Apple's latest attempt to "Wow!" Windows users over to Mac.  After all, Safari is just in beta and we should all be kind to projects in beta.  But when I discovered that Leander Kahney of the Cult of Macintosh had yesterday come out with pretty much the same assessment of Safari for Windows that I did, I'm now wondering whether I wasn't harsh enough on Apple's latest offering.

Here's Kahney summing up Safari:

Safari sucks. A lot of Mac users won't run the browser (I'm one of them), so why would anyone run it on Windows?

On my Mac, Safari is buggy and unreliable. It's always crashing, and it doesn't offer basic features like remembering all the tabs you have open after you quit (or more likely, after it crashes). Until now, it didn't even warn you before closing multiple tabs, although the new version of Safari fixes this.

Firefox is getting a little bloated these days, but it's a better browser.

For Windows users, the browser market is already far too crowded -- who needs anything other than Internet Explorer or Firefox? Safari is one browser too many.

He's making a good point you know.  I don't agree with him that it's a straight contest between IE and Firefox though; I like to think that Opera has a part to play in the browser ecosystem.  Those who don't know any better are stuck with Internet Explorer, those who want to follow the cool crowd or like to pimp up their browser (much like some folk used to pimp up Office 95 apps with all kind of crazy macros that did all kinds of odd things) choose Firefox, while those who want security choose Opera.  Given the competition, who then needs Safari?

Some people are suggesting that Safari for Windows is Apple's way to get developers to create web software for the iPhone?  I don't buy that.  If Steve Jobs thinks that what's needed to stimulate iPhone development is adding a buggy browser to an already overcrowded ecosystem, then he's caught up in his own reality distortion field.  Breaking into the browser market is a slow process even when you have a decent product to offer (look how long it's taken Mozilla to get Firefox widely accepted), and given the widespread reports of Safari for Windows crashing on a regular basis, it seems that Apple's been dealt a duff card.  By the time the iPhone is released the Safari for Windows market share will be so close to 0% as to make no difference, and I seriously doubt that by the time that the next version of the iPhone is out that this will have crept to anything close to 1%.  If Apple really believed that iPhone development needed stimulating and that releasing a Safari for Windows was a way to do this, the browser should have been released at least a year ago.

Those who claim that it's a good thing to have healthy competition in the browser market because it prevents stagnation need to take a really close look at Safari.  The Safari gene pool is already pretty stagnant and while it does have some cool features, they're not worth the trade-off in terms of stability and being treated as a second-class citizen by popular sites such as Gmail (where Safari only gives you access to basic features of the site, while IE or Firefox display the enhanced interface).  To be frank, when using Safari -  on both Windows and Mac - I certainly feel like I'm surfing the web "Netscape class." 

I'm with Ed Bott on this.  This is about Apple moving into the Windows ecosystem because of the ability to run Windows on a Mac.  Having used Boot Camp on the Mac I can safely say that while it's a great tool (although nowhere near as great as Parallels), setting it up requires more than a basic level of know-how, and the issue with drivers and such makes it a sucky experience.  Apple would be far better offering Macs that come with Windows pre-installed (like Ed says it would be cheaper for the consumer since an OEM license costs less, but Apple could also make a few bucks in the deal).

Like it or not, Windows is a platform that Apple is very interested in leveraging.

Thoughts?

Topics: Windows, Apple, Browser, Hardware, iPhone, Microsoft, Mobility

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130 comments
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  • Browser World is not Crowded

    To say that the browser world is crowded is like saying that you only want to buy either an Ford Excursion or a Toyota Prius. All other options are null and void because they require too much to learn and get to know how to use.
    nucrash
    • Agreed !

      To my mind, [b]nucrash[/b] is quite correct : there's [u]always[/u] room for a new browser, as long as it has something to offer which current browsers do not - and, [i]nota bene[/i], is at least their equal in, most importantly, reliablity. Unfortunately, [b]Safari 3 beta[/b] fails on this latter count - it crashed when asked to perform web searches on my [b]Vista[/b] partition, and couldn't open without crashing on my [b]XP[/b] partition. When it's been improved, I'll try it again, and if it works well and has something to offer, add it to my other browsers, platform-independent ones like [b]Firefox 2.0.0.4[/b] and [b]Opera 9.21[/b], [b]Windows[/b] candidate [b]IE7[/b], and my test browser [b]Gran Paradiso 3.0a5[/b], which despite being an alpha build, never crashes on me (but alas, as yet lacks the [b]Firefox[/b] add-ons that make that browser my favourite....

      Henri
      mhenriday
    • NUCRASH

      YOU ARE BLOCKING ME
      lmason2926@...
  • Bit of advice:

    Don't use it.

    I'm a Mac user and I don't use it. Don't see any reason why you would want to.

    As for the iPhone, it's simply a tool people can use to check their work. If you're on Windows and you want to write a web based program for the iPhone, how are you going to test it without using Safari? Or are you suggesting that Windows developers are so sloppy that they don't even check their own work on the programs that will eventually run them? Kind of insulting.

    ---This is about Apple moving into the Windows ecosystem because of the ability to run Windows on a Mac---

    Why? What does this benefit Apple? What do they get out of having Windows users use Safari, other than search revenue from Google? If all the good things Apple offers are available on Windows, why would anyone ever switch?
    tic swayback
    • RE: Don't use it

      I disagree. While Safari isn't the be-all-end-all browser out there, it's no where
      near as bad as it's been made out to be. Leander Kahney saying it "buggy,"
      "unreliable" and "crashes all the time"? Sorry, but maybe Cult-of-Mac needs to
      clean his Mac. Yes, Safari does crash, but no more than any other browser on any
      other OS. In a bad spell, Safari will crash on me maybe once a week. Firefox
      crashes just as often, and IE... ugh. IE crashes on me almost daily in XP.

      Safari isn't my preferred browser for typical surfing on the Mac (the newest
      Camino has regained me as a fan,) but it is the only browser to use on Mac when it
      comes to Flash performance. The speed which Safari renders Flash is 20-30%
      faster than Opera or any Mozilla-based browser.
      JakAttak
    • Any rationale?

      Care to give any actual rationale why we should not use Safari? I use it every day
      and love it. It's the best browser I have ever used, and I have used them all.

      Silly boy, when Apple releases (as in 'Release the hounds') it will have boot camp
      already set up. Clueless windows users by the droves (those that have not
      already strated switching) will have a no-brainer choice about what computer to
      buy (as if this were not true today).

      The difference is, when that user is in windows (for whatever twisted reason) they
      will have all defaults set for them by Safari. Not I.E. So, no only will they get the
      brower revenue (running 2 MILLION per month already for Apple just in what they
      make off the highly connnected Mac users) but all defaults will be set to Apple's
      advantage.

      Run mediaplayer? You gotta be kidding? I.E? Safari instead. MS movie
      (whatever the lame excuse is for iMovie is called) no way, you will have iMovie.

      Perhaps they will release all of iLife for Windows. For the average user, it's going
      to exceed the usefullness of Office.

      Have fun dreaming that Apple will 'just die someday' as you once hoped.
      comp_indiana
      • One simple rationale

        I like using all the plug-ins available for Firefox. There's a level of customization for my needs that isn't there for Safari. Other than that, I've had no problems with Safari and find it to be generally quite capable.

        And if you think Boot Camp can set up preferences and default programs within Windows, you are sadly mistaken. If I buy a stock copy of XP or Vista to run on a Mac using Boot Camp, it doesn't come with Safari for Windows, so no, that program can't be set as a default, even if Boot Camp were capable of such a thing.

        ---Have fun dreaming that Apple will 'just die someday' as you once hoped.---

        I hope that's not directed at me. I've been a Mac user since 1993, and have never hoped the company dies.
        tic swayback
        • It can't die.

          Bill wouldn't allow it.
          rtk
      • hmmmm

        I won't say you are rational ... don't get us wrong!

        1. Safari in Mac is beautiful
        2. Safari in Windows is still far away, crash, bugs, sucks

        Reasons? have no idea ... hardaware, variaty of OS, what I tell you is that Safari isn't ready to even be considered a public beta in windows world!!!
        antemiogordon
  • A cry for help

    Thinking about this more--is this a cry for help? Is your Windows usage experience so painful that you are desperate for a white knight (Jobs) to come in and save you from yourself? Is this all just wishful thinking, that someone will actually offer you some choice on the platform you've saddled yourself with?

    Open your eyes. You've always had the ability to run Apple programs all along. You don't need some ridiculous fantasy about Apple giving up on OSX and porting everything to Windows. If you're really that unsatisfied with Windows, buy a Mac or at the very least, run Linux.
    tic swayback
    • I view it differently

      I view it as a means for Apple to become a bit more entrenched into the Windows ecosystem as to not suffer the same fate of Linux, the "us or them" mentality which will forever hold Linux back.

      I view it more a cry of help from the Apple side, a "Better to be with them then against them" scenerio, of never controlling the desktop, but at least a part of it.
      GuidingLight
      • Us or them

        Sorry, Linux came late to that party, Apple and Windows was "us or them" a long time before Linux existed.

        ---I view it more a cry of help from the Apple side, a "Better to be with them then against them" scenerio, of never controlling the desktop, but at least a part of it.---

        Yeah, 30 years into the game, just as they're gaining marketshare and massively increasing their stock price, Apple is going to surrender. Talk about wishful thinking.

        No, this is about making it easier to develop for the iPhone. Simplest, most logical explanation.
        tic swayback
        • Yes of course it is so.

          [i]No, this is about making it easier to develop for the iPhone. Simplest, most logical
          explanation.[/i]

          Much like Apple wanted the Win user's money via iTunes, Apple want more software
          developed for their iPhone (which I think has a huge potential).
          Mikael_z
          • it wasn't "want", it was "need"!

            Apple didn't want Win users money, they needed it. The iPod would command %5 of the market if it was Mac only.

            Apple's recent successes are iPod/iTunes based, completely. OS X is another hobby, like AppleTV.
            rtk
  • Apple will leverage their iPod monopoly

    [i]Breaking into the browser market is a slow process[/i]

    Not if you have a monopoly in MP3 players and you bundle Safari with iTunes and silently change the user's default browser to Safari when they install iTunes. There is a ton of precedent for this type of slimy behavior from Apple. Apple tries to trick the unwary at every step of the process. The default radio option on their "Get Safari" page is to download QuickTime+Safari. The default install option is to install Quicktime, Bonjour, Apple Update Service, and Safari. I guess when you can't compete on merit, you bully your way into other markets with your 800lb MP3 player.
    NonZealot
    • Please, please, just stop...

      Please, please, just stop. You sound absolutely rediculous.
      olePigeon
      • Thing is... he's dead on. (NT)

        (NT)
        PB_z
        • And the only people that may have

          problems with this activity are those that cannot read. I don't see how Apple's behavior is any different than any other's and what is wrong with it.

          Read, think, make choices, take responsibility. Zealot is a victim of stupidity and paranoia, I am not.
          People
          • Ah, the battlecry of the spyware pusher.

            "We let people chose not to install the crapware, it's not our fault average users don't dig for advanced options".

            We've heard this business practice being defended for a long time.

            Apple, the new Zango.
            rtk
    • How can you "silently" change a user's default

      to a butt ugly gray thing that looks nothing like any other program they use?
      Michael Kelly