Apple Gets Official Welcome To Windows Browser Market, Safari Vulnerabilities Exposed

from the bienvenidos! dept

Steve Jobs delivered one of his regular sermons to the Apple faithful yesterday at the company's developer conference, with the biggest news being the announcement of a version of Apple's Safari browser for Windows. While some people saw this as a really big deal, plenty more are nonplussed by the news. In any case, it didn't take security experts long to welcome Apple to the world of Windows web browsers by revealing some security vulnerabilities of Safari for Windows within a few hours of its release. Despite Apple's claims that the browser provides "worry-free web browsing on any computer", the experts say it appears that Safari relies on security protocols built in to OS X that don't exist in Windows, leaving it open to vulnerabilities. However, the open-source WebKit browser engine that Safari is built on has now released a Windows version, so there's the possibility that developers could help close some of these holes, while it's also not as if having a secure browser if a requirement for success in the Windows market (IE would seem to make that clear). Furthermore, it's likely that the factor determining Safari's success for Windows won't be security, but rather its quality when compared to users' other options.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 2:49pm

    Safari

    Safari doesn't really stand that much of a chance as a Windows web browser, there's already better products that people are familiar with. The only real purpose of having Safari for windows is for developers who want to code and test applets for the iPhone (and mac), as the iPhone is using Safari for a browser. Outside of this little niche, I don't see Safari going much of anywhere in the Windows world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Ginny, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:02pm

    Beta?

    Don't forget that they said it's the BETA version. It's even on the site that it's a PUBLIC BETA. : Geeze. Of course there's going to be bugs and issues.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    jones, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:08pm

    Article on locked SDK

    How about a post on the no 3rd party apps on the iphone. This is clearly protectionism for mobile phone services (e.g. video/music download), possibly mandated by Cingular who, as a mobile phone company, are currently salivating at rent-seeking opportunities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    William, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:20pm

    Went on Safari

    I was using Safari earlier today on my PC. It's really compact and simple to use. And it has a look and feel just like ITunes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Kwyjibo, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:21pm

    Safari on Windows

    Apple's porting of Safari to Windows may have been meant accomplish something that hasn't been considered yet: Perhaps the move was done simply to legitimize the browser and KHTML, giving web developers an easy way to ensure compatibility with Safari. It may be a trojan horse in the marketing sense, but that won't be effective unless it's actually a better browser.

    I can't help but wonder if this is Apple dipping its toe into the water for the possibility of releasing iLife on Windows. Steve Jobs is seeming to come around to a revelation that Apple is a software company, based on his comments at D5. Hopefully that's not where things are headed - they'd be giving away the kitchen sink. I'd much rather see a version of OS X to install on any Intel computer!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    not a fanboy of win or mac, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:23pm

    which is a bad thing. if it is anything like itunes i expect that it will crash my comp within one minute(my computer is not old)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    William, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:38pm

    first step

    I agree with Kwyjibo I hope this is a first step towards releasing OSX on x86 machines. They already have a apple that can run windows in VM why not a PC that can run OSX they could make a killing. But for some reason I don't think apple will ever go there.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Sean-O, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 3:40pm

    Safari on Windows

    Remember that a large number of Mac owners also run Windows on them via either Parallels or BootCamp. Those users are already comfortable with Safari, and would just as soon use the same browser on their Windows sessions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    SBBrian805, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 4:02pm

    Safari on Windows

    Screw them both!

    FireFox is better and works on both OSX and Windows! As for the iPhone. Firefox should just make a lite version for the iphone since it's runs full OSX. Hey, they can even call it FlameFox!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    IBM=I Buy Mac, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 4:16pm

    Not Gonna Happen

    If Apple makes OSX available to PC users, there is no way that the Mac will last. Business owners that are trying to cut costs will buy PC's, load OSX on them and tell their Graphic Designers, Video Editors, etc that "This is the same thing as a Mac... Look!!!"

    I saw it happen when Apple licensed Power-PC computers by third parties in the 90's. Something got lost in the translation. I have both PC's and Mac's at home. They each have their niche. Let's leave it that way. Please Mr. Jobs!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    jon, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 4:34pm

    How about a post on the no 3rd party apps on the iphone. This is clearly protectionism for mobile phone services....
    That is clearly a silly thing to say, silly mostly because it is false (see: http://www.macrumors.com/2007/06/11/wwdc-iphone-release-time-developer-access/)

    ...why not a PC that can run OSX they could make a killing
    Apple makes most of it's money off of hardware, that would kill a huge junk of their business. Also they have quoted Alan Kay before, who said, "People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware." So it seems antithetical to their philosophy as a company that is serious about software.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    craig, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 4:47pm

    Firefox

    I'm a MAC user at home and believe Firefox is a better browser than Safari. It is way more flexible and has tons of extensions. I understand the strategic reason Apple is doing this hopefully they just take market share from IE and don't disrupt the Firefox project.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Charles Griswold, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 5:13pm

    Safari on Linux?

    I was a bit disappointed that they haven't announced a version for Linux. After all, OSX does have more in common with Linux than it does with Windows. *shrug* Oh, well. It's not that big of a deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    jones, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 5:55pm

    Re:

    I'm not sure what your link is supposed to inform me of. I hope it is not the ability to write AJAX apps. If you think AJAX apps (web sites essentially) have the same functionality as native apps -- well, I really don't know what to say.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 5:55pm

    Making OSX (or more likely OSXI) run on any PC would be a bad idea. One of the main advantages os a Mac is that it will just work, without most of the driver hassles that you have with Windows/Linux. B/c only a few hardware devices of each category (GPUs, soud cards, etc) are supported, that means thata smaller numberr of devlopers can write a few very good drivers and test every configuration of mac shipped. OTOH, if you allow a free for all, with custom-built computers and all manner of hardware setups, then you need far more drivers which cannot be so thoroughly written and checked without making them prohibitavely expensive.
    This is partly what Alan Kay was referring to in his commment about people who are serious about thier software.

    I know that some Mac users prefer Safari to Firefox because it uses less memory than Fx2 does (even without any extra plugins), and so if they dual boot with Windows they might want a browser they are familiar with.

    What I find irritating is that Apple do not respect the standard UI on windows with thier products, such as Safari and iTunes, whic bith use the brushed steel interface for their main window, with only some concessions to the windows UI (location of the minimise etc buttons, and the behaviour of the maximise button), rhater than either letting Windows handle the appearance or allowing user skins. (I also dislike this practice in other companies products, such as MS Office, IE7, and most versions of WMP, although in the latter case there is some justification in that it is intended to advertise Vista and fit in with that, rather than XP). Presumably the idea with using OSX themes for iTunes and Safari is to ger Windows users used to teh OSX GUI, so to overcome one of the hurldes ot changing to a mac.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Paul, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 5:59pm

    Safari on Windows is a joke - so far.

    So I was currious enough to download and install Safari on my windows XP system and play with it yesterday. The result was it crashed over a dozen times in the five minutes I was trying to use it. Sites that are bookmarked in its default favorites list informed me that I was using an old browser and should upgrade to firefox. :) I tried submitting a bug to the tracker but couldn't because the Safari bug submitter crashed when the submit button was pressed. Yes, I know it's a beta, but by the number of bugs I found in it, I'd say it's really in pre-alpha stage and should not be released yet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    General Eskimo, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 6:54pm

    Who didn't see this coming?

    Is this even worthy of an article? I mean, this was obvious. I really feel sorry for anyone who didn't see this coming... I have been ranting about it for 7 months. "But no, if apple makes it it must be good!" they said. Life is really boring when you know everything that is going to happen before it happens.

    Unix is a fairly secure platform, but Apple has loads of flaws. So, they built their system on top of a secure platform, and it works. However, because of this, none of their software goes through the rigorous testing that is seen on other platforms. So, take pure Apple software and put it in a place that isn't already secure, and you are going to have loads of problems.

    Now, just to get this on the record: EA's move to making Mac+PC games (instead of just PC games) is good for Microsoft, and in the long-term, bad for Apple. Apple is only good as long as they have full control over the environment. EA is married to DirectX, which is owned by Microsoft, thus Apples use MS libraries, thus any apple gaming actually strengthens PC/360 gaming, as they all now use DirectX, and can be ported easily (Cider, and MS's own PC360 porting tools). In fact, it is now easier to make a PC+Mac game w/ DX than with OpenGL.

    Now, feel free to tell me I'm wrong. In 8 months, when I'll be right, then maybe I'll come back to laugh at you.

    90/10

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Safari on Windows is a joke - so far.

    actually, that sounds exactly how a beta version is supposed to sound: buggy. you do realize that beta versions aren't polished releases and are there to... get this... find the bugs. personally, i can't stand the pr stunt that has become "public betas."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    General Eskimo, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Safari on Windows is a joke - so far.

    Well, sure its buggy. However, it has massive security flaws, which it shouldn't as its main selling point is its security. It would be like making a shark repellent that attracts sharks: they didn't even come close to their primary mission, which was to make a more secure browser. I mean, it doesn't even have the simplest protection.

    Oh, a better analogy! It is like making a condom that increases your chances of getting AIDS. You see, many Mac users don't know how insecure their browser is because they aren't getting viruses. However, there is so much identity theft going on that the limiting factor of the crime is how fast they can process the stream of credit cards they get. So, Mac users haven't yet gotten the true blow of how much information their browser gives out. The only reasonable security feature they have boasted about is how it warns you before downloading an executable file. "Great! I didn't know that freemoney.exe was a program! Thankyou Safari!"

    So, it may be a beta, but it is more of a failure than the usual beta, as they really have no selling point, or any announcements as to future selling points- all they have is a different browser, which stupid people will think is more secure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    PhysicsGuy, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Safari on Windows is a joke - so far.

    "Well, sure its buggy. However, it has massive security flaws, which it shouldn't as its main selling point is its security."

    i'm glad you actually read about the product in question. its main selling point is speed, not security, and if you used it, it's certainly fast, at the least.

    "So, it may be a beta, but it is more of a failure than the usual beta, as they really have no selling point, or any announcements as to future selling points- all they have is a different browser, which stupid people will think is more secure."

    more of a failure? how so? i've beta tested various games and apps over the years and the bugs found in safari, so far, in no way constitute a failure for a beta program. oh, and their selling point is spot on. considering they're selling point is a fast and simple web browser, i'd say they're right on track to having what they promise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Charles Griswold, Jun 12th, 2007 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Safari on Windows is a joke - so f

    considering they're selling point is a fast and simple web browser, i'd say they're right on track to having what they promise.
    I tried it and it's pretty snappy considering that I'm running it on a really old PC. I would like to see a more extensive library of extensions. Browsing the web without Adblock Plus just isn't as much fun. :-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    drjones, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Safari on Windows is a joke - so far.

    @General Eskimo

    "Well, sure its buggy. However, it has massive security flaws, which it shouldn't as its main selling point is its security. It would be like making a shark repellent that attracts sharks: they didn't even come close to their primary mission, which was to make a more secure browser. I mean, it doesn't even have the simplest protection."

    These flaws were announced by the same shill and publicity whore, who ran around trying to show off the Apple "Wi-Fi Hack" he discovered, which turned out to be a complete fraud. These flaws may or may not exist, but either way, the messenger has no credibility at all anymore.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    jon, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 8:45am

    I'm not sure what your link is supposed to inform me of. I hope it is not the ability to write AJAX apps. If you think AJAX apps (web sites essentially) have the same functionality as native apps -- well, I really don't know what to say.
    Of course they aren't the same, but you said "no 3rd party apps on the iphone" and that is patently false. There are 3rd party apps, they just are just AJAX apps, but apps all the same. Apple says they are doing that for security and stability and I for one choose to believe that they are being honest. Also, I think you might want to reconsider the power of AJAX before brushing it off, look at what people have done with widgets for Apple's Dashboard and look at what Google has done with AJAX, there is certainly a lot of options for the creative thinkers.

    Anyway, back on topic, I have to agree with folks that while Safari is a nicer application than IE it is not as good as Firefox. While the security are troubling people are right to point out it is the first beta— the first beta for an operating system which it has been ported to for the first time noless. That said, people know now to watch Safari carefully— I'll reserve judgment until the final release.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    John McAllister, Jun 13th, 2007 @ 3:04pm

    Safari and JavaScript

    Web developers using JavaScript must hope that the new Windows version of Safari is better than the Mac version.
    Safari Mac seems to be incapable of running substantial, compliant JavaScripts.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This