Apple Pushes Safari Through Apple Software Update

Apple which is legendary in some circles as being described that it can do no wrong, well that just proven as not true today. The big story of the day is that Apple pushed onto Windows users via the Apple Software Update, Safari 3.1. What occured is that if you have iTunes or QuickTime you have an option when installing either of those to install the Apple Software Update. This application as even described by Apple is designed to Update your software, not to install new software. What happened is that if users weren’t paying enough attention as one of my very tech savy friends did today, when updating iTunes or Quicktime, Safari installs even if you didn’t have Safari installed.

This was a rather upsetting move by Apple in the minds of many people. Now granted the installation isn’t spyware, won’t hurt your computer, is promoting a diversity of browsers and certainly not a bad browser at that. Also your default browser remains unchanged, but that doesn’t change the fact of the matter that software was installed in a rather dubious manner. The software was installed via a program designed to update software not install completely new software on your computer. This in my mind makes Apple look either like a monopolistic company using it’s power through iTunes to push other software onto people’s computer or like a spyware company not being completely upfront about it’s intention or very clear when installing software.

Some columnists have said that users should pay attention as to what software is and isn’t being installed. I agree with that position 100 percent, no question users should be aware of what is and isn’t installed on their computer. Now I want you to all go and ask someone not so technically literate what is installed on their computer. If they can name beyond 10 programs, I would be surprised. Then have them go look at what is actually installed and see if they even know what about half of them do. If they are like most of my non-tech savvy friends they won’t know. Yes, people should be aware of what they are clicking on and what they are and not accepting. One of the largest complaints about Windows Vista Security Dialog, it pops up so often people become used to it and click accept no matter what. Same thing here, we are conditioned to click “Okay” and keep going no matter what.

This is the problem, companies already push software onto our computers as is. Why do we want one more company starting. Granted on the Windows world our computers come pre-installed with bloatware, and other companies have done it in the past. Does that give Apple a free pass to do whatever they want? No of course not. The question here isn’t whether or not companies have done it in the past or what is or isn’t pre-installed, the question is about what Apple is currently doing. I would love to have someone tell me how installing software via a program designed to update software is not being devious.

Justin Yost is a full-time Software Engineer and a part time educator. A graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in computer science, Justin relishes programming and learning more about anything and everything. When not working, Justin occasionally gives talks at the local PHP Meetup. In his free time, Justin enjoys backpacking and reading science fiction books.

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