Friday, 05 September 2008

(Column) - Apple’s Safari is making its way to the Windows platform with the serious intention of making a dent in the market. As brilliant as the people are at Apple, I can’t help but laugh at their, to put it politely, delusion. Before I ramble on too much, here are my five reasons why Safari will fail on the Windows platform.

1. Internet Explorer Ain’t Dead: It’s pretty obvious that killing Internet Explorer isn’t a child’s play. If Firefox and Opera are having such a difficult time beating Internet Explorer, what makes Apple so hopeful? We must also not forget that Internet Explorer is bundled with Windows, and that means a lot of mainstream users already have an application to work with. If Firefox weren’t able to create enough viral market adoption for the mainstream audience, Apple would have to be delusional to expect people to use a browser from a company they don’t even know makes a browser.

2. Firefox, Anyone? After Internet Explorer, Apple has Firefox to go after. I hope Apple doesn’t expect to solely steal market share away from Internet Explorer. There are other entrants who would have to pay for Apple to be successful. Yeah, right! Like that’s ever going to happen. Firefox is successful because of the community and its efforts. It takes a lot of resources and a genuinely nice product/organization to get support from a community that is willing to work and develop plug-ins on their own time for free to enhance the user experience. Can Apple secure such a loyal following?

The Psychology of Mac Zealots

3. O for Opera: Apple needs to look at Opera to figure out why Internet Explorer and now Firefox (at least somewhat) dominate the market. There is a reason Opera isn’t a widely used browser. It’s because people, other than enthusiasts, don’t have an interest in using an alternative browser that’s already available to them. On top of that, I don’t see how Apple plans to monetize from Safari’s adoption unless they are planning to do it indirectly. Maybe they want to spread the word about the Mac platform with Safari. Maybe if people like Safari, they will be more interested in Apple’s OS X, and thus the Mac platform as a whole. Hmm… sounds too farfetched.

4. Nobody Likes Safari: Need I say more? Apple’s Mac community loathes Safari like the plague. If it’s loyal community doesn’t prefer their native browser, oh, is it going to be difficult to convert new users? Let’s work on improving Safari for the Mac, shall we, Apple? Apple needs to get a clue and start taking a more realistic approach towards browsers. It just can’t be the best at everything it does.

5. Who Cares? Plain and simple, who cares? Why should I get Safari over Firefox (I won’t even count Internet Explorer to make it easier on the company.)? What substantial features does Safari offers compared to other browsers?

The 2MM downloads we have seen in 48 hours are for the sake of novelty at best. People, who are involved, more so than average users, are trying out Safari merely to check it out. Once the novelty wears off, they will flock back to Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer. In essence, any traction that Safari is seeing right now is temporary, and Apple shouldn’t expect to wound, let alone kill, Internet Explorer. There are far better alternatives than Safari, and Apple is wasting time and resources on a project that isn’t going to take off.

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