Mozilla CEO blasts Apple for distributing Safari 3.1 for Window on its update site

Mozilla CEO blasts Apple for distributing Safari 3.1 for Window on its update site

Summary: Mozilla's CEO blasted Apple for distributing its Safari browser via the Apple Software Update service on Windows that is used by millions of iTunes users.In a blog posted today, John Lilly, the chief executive of Mozilla, claimed the distribution practice is unethical because it allegedly tricks users into downloading not only their regular iTunes and Quicktime updates but also a brand new web browser -- without the user's consent.

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Mozilla's CEO blasted Apple for distributing its Safari browser via the Apple Software Update service on Windows that is used by millions of iTunes users.

In a blog posted today, John Lilly, the chief executive of Mozilla, claimed the distribution practice is unethical because it allegedly tricks users into downloading not only their regular iTunes and Quicktime updates but also a brand new web browser -- without the user's consent.

As shown in the blog, the dialog box asks users to check off the software they want installed -- two boxes, one showing iTunes and QuickTime together, and the other displaying Safari, and at the bottom an option of installing the two items or quitting. The two boxes -- including Safari, the Windows version of the default browser in Apple's MacOSX -- are checked by default when the dialog box pops up.

"What Apple is doing now with their Apple Software Update on Windows is wrong. It 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," claimed the CEO, whose company's open source Firefox browser is No. 2 on Windows. "As a software maker we promise to do our very best to keep users safe and will provide the quickest updates possible, with absolutely no other agenda .... Apple has made it incredibly easy — the default, even — for users to install ride along software (Safari) that they didn’t ask for, and maybe didn’t want. This is wrong, and borders on malware distribution practices."

Some agreed strongly with Lilly's contention, some disagreed vehemently. The blog has caused a bit of a controversy.

"If Microsoft did the identical action, install some non-user-selected software using their software update channel, there would be cacophony across the Internet," wrote one sympathetic reader.

Others read the blog as a defensive response to Apple's Safari 3.1 for Windows, which was released on Apple's update site for Windows yesterday.

"Wow. You Windows users are not only paranoid, but so anti-Apple that your comments are hysterical," chimed one respondent.

"Much to do about nothing! The problem here is clear: Mozilla’s CEO is intimidated by the competition," added yet another writer.

Lilly claimed in his blog that his statements are not a criticism of Safari as a web browser and that he had no problem with a company using its installed software as a channel for other software. His concern is that many end users may not realize that they are downloading an entirely new web browser with their regular iTunes updates.

Still others say Lilly doesn't give end users enough credit.

"This is the biggest non-isue yet - and anyone using a computer that can’t use that screen and make a good decision should go back to a typewriter," another blogger said.

Topics: Software, Apple, Browser, CXO, Hardware, Mobility, Operating Systems, IT Employment, Windows

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114 comments
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  • Wow!

    Well it is a valid article, a lot of people do just click through without reading what exactly it is they are downloading. But, you should do a spell check. Spelling Safari as Safai 2 times in the second paragraph is not acceptable in such a high profile blog. Not to mention the word Issue,as isue. This is the not so good part of this article.
    Dolphins6872
    • They don't use Safari,

      apparently.
      People
      • Oh is Safari the only browser that has spell checking?

        Awesome, I'm getting it.

        Oh, wait, Firefox already does that. Never mind.
        tikigawd
        • Spell check

          * Adds spell checking and grammar checking

          Source: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306914
          People
          • Yes, thank you, I already knew

            Safari had that ability.

            Did you perchance, read what I wrote?
            Here's a refresher. I wrote:
            "Oh is Safari the [b]only[/b] browser that has spell checking?"

            By asking if it's the [i]only[/i] browser with spell checking I'm already acknowledging it has it...
            tikigawd
      • When Safari failed on attaching...

        files with my webmail I went back to a browser that worked - Firefox.
        bjbrock
    • This shows you how unprofessional...

      most bloggers really are and why blogs are good for one thing - arguing back and forth.

      Blogs have been mistaken for true journalism when in fact blogging is tantamount to something like the National Inquirer. Both have about the same amount of credence.
      bjbrock
      • ZDNet lumps blogs with news

        and even regards blogs as means of distributing news. Unfortunately, you are correct in your assessment of blogging.
        Sounds like something is wrong at zdnet!
        Joeman57
        • Indeed

          Read this one by Howlett and see all his little snipes at the readers:
          http://blogs.zdnet.com/Howlett/?p=345&tag=nl.rSINGLE

          A little belligerent for my taste. He sounds just like any other mindless kid having a little spat online.
          tikigawd
      • Understand the source

        There are reputable blogs. I actually search out blogs by people respected in the fields that I am interested in. We just have to understand what they are. A news story is supposed to be an impartial retelling of facts (debatable if this actually exists anymore, but that is a different story). Blogs are like editorials. The best have some straight news in them to set the foundation, but then diverge into opinion. This is OK! just make sure you are reading opinions from people you actually want them from. Also realize that if you agree with someone 90% of the time, then that means 1 blog in ten will be a throw away even from a source you generally respect.
        philpenn
    • Ironic that FF would have caught that

      Love the spell checker in FF.

      Just be thankful ZDNet hasn't started peppering their articles with leet speak... yet.
      ejhonda
  • Brilliant Appleites....

    [i]Much [b]to do[/b] about nothing! The problem is clear.[/i]

    Well ONE thing is clear. Someone needs to brush up on their Shakespeare. ;-)
    MGP2
    • No grammar check on Safari

      awwwwwww
      tikigawd
      • Awwww

        http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=306914

        * Adds spell checking and grammar checking
        People
        • <sigh>

          Spelling it out: J-O-K-E

          Get off it already, jeez.

          Does Safari have Shakespeare check? Maybe that's what the guy needs.
          tikigawd
          • Fanboys never joke

            Why do you think they're fanboys...

            :D
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
          • @b8375629: Evidently!

            Probably mommy no lovey.

            I'm sure Jobs gives him belly rubs and Eskimo kisses for being such a goood bOy, though. After paying the correct fee and signing his life away to the mighty silver fruit, of course.
            tikigawd
          • No doubt

            :D
            hasta la Vista, bah-bie
  • Hate to say it...

    but if you have iTunes you have to have QuickTime, iTunes
    won't run without it. But you can have QuickTime without
    iTunes, just make sure you select the right download.

    And to be fair Safari 3.0 was Beta and ran like Beta. Safari
    3.1 is very solid and freaking fast. Check out pages that
    use lots of JavaScript and CSS, amazing! The new Firefox
    beta is very fast too.
    CowLauncher
    • It's called choice!

      If I have iTunes, I have made a conscious choice to use Quicktime as the pair are apparently linked. I don't use iTunes but if I did, I would have already made that choice. While offering Safari on the channel is a service, including it with the iTunes update by default at the very least borders on deception. As one other poster put it, if Microsoft did this the uproar would rock the heavens. It reminds me of those companies who automatically charge your credit card for upgrades without asking.
      Gerry_z