I’m not a big fan of corporations pushing stuff on consumers underhandedly, and I’m seriously not a big fan of Internet Explorer, so I’m a little split between how I feel about this new Apple practice.  The web developer in me really loves the idea of Windows user being given a new browser, but the skeptic in me realizes that the majority of users that still use internet explorer probably have no idea that other browsers exist let alone understand what web standards are and how Safari is a better option for them.

So, it’s a bit of a conundrum in my opinion.  People who really care about their browsing experience have probably downloaded another browser already and have made a decision, by themselves, about what browser they want to use.  Those who don’t are probably content with Internet Explorer and have no idea how to even find safari in their start menu.  I’m not trying to be condesending here, and I have the ut most respect for windows users, but in my experience the larger “non-geek” demographic will not try a new browser.  They equate Internet Explorer with the “internet”.  Which is where the real genius lies in Microsofts marketing practice.  Putting Internet in the title of your browser program not only tells the non tech crowd what your program is, but also really confuses those who don’t understand how the internet works into assuming that it’s the only way to get onto the internet.

Most people don’t see an application that let them access the internet, they don’t see the fundamentals that make the internet what it is, what they do see is an application that “is” the internet.  A prime example of this is a professional  I met with about a month ago at a small business meetup.  The idea of mac’s came up and virus’s and I began explaining to him some reasoning behind why it’s a little more secure, I brought up Internet Explorer and active x controls.  When I explained to him that he could use firefox he was dumbfounded. He literally thought Internet Explorer was the “internet”.  To him they were synonymous, the same thing, no difference.  To us this seems completely unlikely, but we’re not in this normal demographic, we lay outside of it.  Now, back to the matter at hand!  Do you honestly see these users knowing what to do with an automatic download of safari?  I don’t, and I really think it’s a bit of a slap in the face to users who know.  If they want safari they’ll download it.  They don’t need it shoved down their throats.

Instead of tricking people into using it, why wouldn’t apple focus on making it the best browser available?  It originally worked for Firefox, so why wouldn’t it work for Apple?  If they make a superior browser people will use it.  It’s that simple.  Now here’s where we, the geeks come in.  It’s our responsibility as geeks to educate people about the problems that are Internet Explorer, and it’s our responsibility to let people know that they have options.  Who knows, maybe the next time you talk to your colleagues you’ll find that they’re using safari on their own accord, or better yet…maybe they switched to a mac!

Have any opinions?  Add them to the comments.

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