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Apple smuggles Safari onto Windows PCs

Update for Quicktime and iTunes contains web browser, Mozilla CEO speaks out

A new update for the Windows versions of Apple’s Quicktime and iTunes software also contains Safari, Apple’s proprietary web browser, calling it an important software update and installing it by default.

Many Windows users have Quicktime and iTunes installed. The former is used to view Apple’s online movie trailers, the latter to manage iPods or purchase music from Apple’s online store.

Apple unveiled Safari version 3.1 earlier this week. According to figures from Net Applications this February, the browser currently holds 5.7% of the market, with Mozilla Firefox holding 17.3% and Internet Explorer ruling at 75.9%.

Mozilla CEO John Lilly spoke out about Apple’s actions, which he said violated user trust and harmed the security of the whole web as a result.

Lilly said: "The problem here is that it lists Safari for getting an update - and has the 'Install' box checked by default - even if you haven’t ever installed Safari on your PC. By and large, all software makers are trying to get users to trust us on updates, and so the likely behavior here is for users to just click 'Install 2 items,' which means that they’ve now installed a completely new piece of software, quite possibly completely unintentionally…This is wrong, and borders on malware distribution practices.

"It’s wrong because it undermines the trust that we’re all trying to build with users. Because it means that an update isn’t just an update, but is maybe something more. Because it ultimately undermines the safety of users on the web by eroding that relationship. It’s a bad practice and should stop," he added.

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