Mozilla slams Steve Jobs' Windows Safari plans

Mozilla slams Steve Jobs' Windows Safari plans

Summary: Mozilla's chief operating officer John Lilly has hit out at Apple's Steve Jobs, calling his plans for building Safari's market share "out of date" and "duopolistic".Lilly made his comments following Jobs' recent keynote at Apple's worldwide developers conference, where the Mac maker unveiled a version of the Safari browser that is designed to run on Windows Vista or XP.


Mozilla's chief operating officer John Lilly has hit out at Apple's Steve Jobs, calling his plans for building Safari's market share "out of date" and "duopolistic".

Lilly made his comments following Jobs' recent keynote at Apple's worldwide developers conference, where the Mac maker unveiled a version of the Safari browser that is designed to run on Windows Vista or XP.

In the speech predicting how Apple would grow its market share, Jobs showed a slide with Safari dominating almost a quarter of the market -- a market only shared with a single other browser, Internet Explorer.

Lilly doesn't believe this was an ommission or simplification, but instead an indication that Jobs is hoping to steal the users of Firefox and other smaller browsers in order to run a "duopoly" with Redmond.

"This world view that Steve gave a glimpse into betrays [Apple's] thinking: It's out-of-date, corporate-controlled, duopoly-oriented, not-the-Web thinking. And it's not good for the Web. Which is sort of moot, I think, because I don't think this two-party world will really come to be," he said in his blog.

A browser market split exclusively between two companies is the "wrong thing to do" and would cause a dip in end-user experience, as well as ruining participation and engagement, the Mozilla Foundation exec said.

Lilly, however, went on to welcome the latest addition to the browser market, saying: "Another browser being available to more people is good. I'm glad that Safari will be another option for users. ... We've never ever at Mozilla said that we care about Firefox market share at the expense of our more important goal: to keep the Web open and a public resource. The Web belongs to people, not companies."

Lilly, however, cast doubt on whether Jobs' two-browser state would come to pass, saying the rise of Wikipedia and Linux suggests users are no longer content with "the monopolies and duopolies and cartels of yesterday's distribution" led by the big software vendors.

Since Safari for Windows debuted last Monday, it has gone on to notch up one million downloads. It has also seen a number of security vulnerabilities unearthed resulting in three patches being issued by Apple.

Some readers of Lilly's blog believe Jobs' keynote shows the Mac maker is reluctant to challenge Microsoft. One reader, Iam, wrote: "The Mac's survival still is still in some ways linked to MS Office running on the Mac. You may argue that Parallels and Boot Camp change this, but we must all agree, much of the world lives in Office. If Jobs had shown the second graph with significant Safari market share at the expense of IE, it would be an outright declaration of war against Microsoft."

Another, Zach A, added: "Let me suggest that perhaps the reason Jobs didn't announce going after Microsoft market share is because of the relationship between the two companies. Maybe, just maybe, Jobs isn't trying to destroy Mozilla, but is instead trying to keep minimal tension with Microsoft."

Topics: Apple, Browser, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Windows Safari will failed...

    I predict Apple's Safari for WIndows and Apple TV will have the same fate as Apple Newton.

    I am a Mac OS X user at home and a Linux user at work, so I use Firefox & Thunderbird on my Mac, instead of Safari & Mail. I find Firefox is way ahead of Safari & IE7. Safari users should give Firefox a try.

    Steve Jobs should stop trying to take over the world like Microsoft and just concentrate on developing useful and creative technologies.
  • Another Browser is good

    Another browser is good for the market and healthy competition. Lilly is just afraid of this well known competitor. Let him bite the bullet and focus on his product.
  • Overanalyzing

    This is really over-analyzing. Steve Jobs probably just left Firefox out of his pie chart to make it look simpler. What does Apple have to lose by porting Safari to Windows? The worst thing that can happen, even if no one uses Safari on Windows, is that there is one more free alternative to IE, which is always good for the net since free browsers like Firefox and Opera challenge the monopoly of Microsoft. And I'm sure that Safari on Windows will at least be used by a lot of Apple users who will store the Windows version of Safari on their thumb drives.
  • Apple Safari

    Firefox leaves Safari for dead. Safari has very little to offer with the users preferences and requirements. There are no skins to change, there are no extensions to add in for custom personalization.

    Apple, I think you should go back to the drawing board and ask the millions of people out there what they really want and need.
  • Safari Ride

    I downloaded Safari from Apple and examined it for an hour. It functions, but Firefox leaves it in the dust. Apple makes fine machines and decent software. The Iphone looks revolutionary. Jobs is a first generation geek who has a good head for business, but he is does not display an affinity for the latest developments of community software. Old hat stuff.
  • Lilly not afraid, but

    He's not afraid, but like many F/OSS zealots, the mere thought of proprietary software makes his undies ride up his crack. I'm a bigger supporter of OSS (including F/OSS as a subset), but I don't think the day will come when all software will be free. There is, has been, and will always be room for both proprietary and free software.
  • No customization? Wrong.

    You speak out of ignorance. Google "pimp my safari", and educate yourself a little before displaying how little you know.
  • So, what's it for?

    The most obvious reason to port Safari to Windows is for some sort of integration with the iPhone, but there might be another reason for it.

    Steve Jobs recently hinted (at D5) that Apple was going to revamp dot mac (Apple's online service), and I could see Apple going cross platform with this, as well as integrating the service with the iPhone, iTunes, and AppleTV. Having control of the browser could make a cross platform dot mac easier to implement.

    Although I must say, there better be some very very compelling reasons if they hope to charge as much as they do for it. Almost all of the dot mac features are available elsewhere (like Google*) for free. Even discounted, dot mac is still around $100/year. If it were $20/year I'd be more interested in it for the integration, but more than that is a rip off (short of some really amazing service that I can't even imagine).

    Still, some mac users pay for it, and I could see some windows users also paying for the convenience if it were cross platform.

    *Given Google's and Apple's past cooperation, I wonder if my predicted dot mac replacement might be a collaborative effort between the two.
  • Everyone seems to forget...

    that Safari for Windows is a Beta! Much like Longhorn was (for years).

    It may not survive and right now, it may not be the best browser software on the market. But Apple's responsiveness in plugging some holes shows the extent to which Apple is committed to this product.
  • More than meets the eye.

    I think that the real intention behind this move from apple is not quite as obvious as it might first appear.

    It's not about windows, and it's certainly not about stealing firefox users. It's all about selling millions, even tens of millions of iPhone's with built in safari. Safari on windows is just a vehicle for apple to give web developers on windows the tools they need to include Safari support in their Web 2.0 and AJAX applications, which ensures that these applications are supported on Apple's safari based platforms like Mac, iPhone and possibly even Apple TV.

    This is even more obvious when you look at Safari on Windows. It's not designed for windows users, it looks like the mac version, it uses mac defaults, the apple font rendering engine, aqua UI controls. It doesn't do anything the windows way. It's not about being another browser for users to choose from, it's been built for web developers to support Apple's platforms first and foremost.
  • 1st iteration beta

    I'm not surprised, since it's the earliest publicly available version. I use both Safari (2.0) and Firefox, probably about 80/20. Firefox is really cool, but sometimes all tha functionality feels like bloat. (On the other hand, my housemate's use is more like 10/90 in favor of FF. There is some add on functionality that she absolutely has to have not available with Safari, particularly Grease Monkey.)

    As far as Apple not having an affinity for community software" as you put it, Safari is based on WebKit, which is an OSS project based on KHTML. There are a lot of OSS projects being built with the WebKit framework.

    Anyway, when I help someone set up their Mac, I always make sure they have FF installed to give them some choice. Also, I'm really looking forward to FF 3.0 for OS X.

    Lastly, remember that Apple is not just Steve Jobs. True, he's the number one guy, but even Jobs has to delegate some of the decisions and some of the work. He's never said sided against OSS; instead Apple has been an example of a company that is integrating OSS into its own software and giving back to the community to their mutual benefit.
  • right you are

    It's the iPhone SDK that has all the Apple 3rd party developers so pissed off! Man, they are really angry! (I think Apple will release a real SDK at some later date, but if you read any Apple developer blogs, you know that people are really up in arms.)

    Also, SDK aside, I think it's to make iPhone integration with Windows easier for the Windows using iPhone purchaser.
  • You don't need no SDK!

    Yes, it certainly is noisy about the lack of an SDK. It's not clear what's going to happen with the SDK situation, but I expect it will most likely be something akin to dashboard widgets with hooks into the phones programmable interfaces. And dashboard widgets run on, you guessed it, safari's webkit engine. And Apple conveniently already has a dedicated IDE, Dashcode, for developing and testing them. The tools are there, just not the glue to bring all the pieces together, time will tell.

    As for the browser numbers I eluded to before. The wall street analysts are predicting that apple could sell 45 million iphones in 2009 alone, and more in following years. That's a lot of safari users, and just a drop in the bucket for a market that's selling over a billion units a year. The web isn't just about desktop PC's anymore.
  • Safari future limited

    There's not much wrong with Safari for Windows. I downloaded it a couple of days ago and found no glitches.
    But it's "nothing out of the box" - not noticeably faster than Mozilla (which I've also tried). But I went back to IE7 unfussed if it's a bit slower than both of them. . . because I'm not a fanatic, I just want the system to work so I can get on with my other projects. Thats why I use Windows Mail (linked to Google mail, so Google keeps my archive). Its the overwhelming number of Windows users who aren't net "experts" who will keep Safari a minor player, I reckon
  • The world is not a zero-sum game

    LOL, 'anon' has a lot to say...

    Quit thinking that for someone to 'win' others have to 'lose'! Apple make millions $ from MacSafari, and WinSafari will add to that = win for Apple.

    The iPhone will increase the WebKit market share significantly, and WinSafari will add some too -- this is no-longer an IE-only world = win for Apple/Mozilla/Adobe/Google/web devs/everyone else except MS.

    Of course there are the tertiary benefits of competition; think that Firefox should 'win', then make it better = win for Mozilla/Adobe/web devs/users.


    Of course none of that requires anyone to lose, except the dominant player hence Apple's misdirection.
  • Firefox & Vista

    At least Safari works on Vista. I upgraded to a Vista laptop months ago and I have been unable to get Firefox installed. I have found no solution on the Mozilla forums. I retried this weekend and still can't even get the installer to run even in administrator mode. I am now back to using IE for the first time in years.

    OS compatability should be at the top of any software vendors 'to-do' list.
  • Safari for the PC?

    I've tried Safari on Windows, Firefox has nothing to worry about. I thought Safari was slow, and it crashed often.
  • Safari is a Beta!!

    All i read here is from people who seem to be forgetting Safari is still a beta, FireFox and IE arnt betas (unless your talking FF3 but thats Alpha as far as ive read). All this thing on how many plugins you can get??.. tbh ive never beena big fan of anything that add's to any program it just ups the scope for it to screw up imo.

    Safari isnt the best browser around and neither is FF, but both leave IE in the dust for page compatibility, speed, security and just about everything else.

    At the end of the day Apple doesnt have to show whether they take market share from anyone its just numbers thought up by a few suits with calculators...

    Its the consumers who will have the last word on it.

    I remember this argument going around when FF was first talked about in the guise of Pheonix then Firebird and whatever else it was called back then.

    I dont think Mozilla are bothered about it and this talk of outright war on MS by Apple if they wanted to do that (which imo they already have in certain areas inc IM since they collaborate with AIM which MS couldnt achieve) they would have said a lot more than they did.

    Apple arnt bothered by this they have the same basis as always which is to try and get things onto other platforms the switch to Intel for Apple has allowed this to such an extent that Safari is the first Apple software product (apart from the obvious iTunes ofcourse and Quicktime) to be released.

    I think some are reading to much into it others too little.

    All these big company execs will try to shoot eachother down look at the Bill Gates / Steve Jobs interview (which is hilarious).

    Enough of the rant though i just wish people wouldnt judge products before they were released.

    Look at Vista if you wanna see something that really is a scary product its the 2007 version of Windows ME :D
  • No chance

    So with the benefit of hindsight, and with all the learnings of the two main players IE and Firefox we see Apple come up with what must be the worst browser since Neoplanet (oh and neoplanet (based on IE had way more features than Safari). I have used it for a week and can easily say it is the worst browsing experience ever. Why, well without even digging deep this has been my experience.

    Talk about proprietary software! No place to include other search providers %u2013 stuck with Yahoo and Google only, I like so why cant I add it?
    No way of navigating back from bookmarks (no easy way, need to keep relaoding the original URL!
    UI that cant or doesn%u2019t use Vista Aero
    No Zoom on web pages, especially for small fonts.
    No page load indicator
    No Error indicator
    Supports Tab browsing %u2013 so how do you open an new tab????
    Grey scale win98 looking %u2013 scroll bars different colour, - subjective I know but wierd looking
    No view all tabs button
    No load multiple tabs at start up
    Technically focused, need to use FILE EDIT VIEW etc menu options to find anything %u2013 no quick links
    No anti phishing
    No support for Adobe Flash 9 scripts!!
    How do I select home from the main page %u2013 cant!
    Blurry fonts - compare a website in Firefox or IE and you will see. It started hurting my eyes!
    Expand/Resize only from bottom right hand corner %u2013 not entire windows!
    Print Preview spreads websites over many pages %u2013 footers on new wasted page!
    No shrink to fit option in print
    No mouse over of print options in print preview
    Missing Adobe Flash components, tsk tsk doesn%u2019t even support non Microsoft vendors
    Shocking %u2013 when you type in a word(s) into address bar it doesn%u2019t auto search %u2013 instead it tries to load it as a URL %u2013 so so so lightweight (IE automatically loads the word(s) into a search if it is not a URL. So simple.

    in a word - Terrible.
  • Opera sings

    Get over the whole browser debate people and go with Opera. Makes Firefox seem like a sloth in comparison and don't even mention IE. Safari? Well as a Mac user I have to say it is less than user friendly compared to others although it is quite fast compared to Firefox (V2.

    Try thinking outside the big guys and enjoy your browsing more.