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Who Needs Another Browser…Oh, I Get It June 11, 2007

Posted by David Card in Digital Home & Personal Tech.
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Ah, the irony of one of the world’s greatest phat-client software companies telling developers that server-side apps are the way to go. Of course, that makes tremendous sense when you’re talking about apps for phones.

More important, Apple, like any good platform company, is trying to create developer lock-in a virtuous-circle ecosystem for the iPhone. Make no mistake, that’s why Safari is being ported to Windows. If you want to run on the iPhone, build to Safari. And we’ll get you an instant user base, not that Safari has that many users (even Jobs only claims 5 percent share). ‘Cause we’re sure not letting you actually run on our device, or get distribution for some core technologies and services, not like Yahoo and Google get.

As a Safari user at home, I can assure you that I get better AJAX, Javascript, whatever you want to call Web 2.0, app support on Firefox running on my Mac than I do on Safari. Web apps that suffer on the current version of Safari include, umm, Yahoo Mail and Gmail, just for instance. Not that I’m saying anything. (But oh, does Safari boot fast and render fonts prettily…) But perhaps that app support will improve, since the iPhone is today’s hot device. It’s all very virtuous, you see.

Colleague Michael Gartenberg connects all the dots, and suggests Safari will become part of the iTunes distribution (just like QuickTime). iTunes, now that’s a platform with some users. The NY Times’ John Markoff, seemingly alone among MSM, makes the Safari-iPhone-developer connection explicit, though he buries his lede.

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