Apple pushing iTunes, QT users on Windows to download Safari

Apple has chosen to leverage its significant install base for QuickTime and iTunes in order to quickly gain market share for its Safari Web browser on Windows.

Along with iTunes or standalone QuickTime, Apple installs a small application, called Software Update. This looks very much like the program of the same name built into Mac OS X, and is used by Apple to push updates -- both security fixes and new versions -- to its products.

However, now it appears that the company is using Software Update to suggest that Windows users install Safari as well. iTunes users are reporting that even if they had not installed a previous version of Safari, an option to download the browser was selected by default.

"I didn't recall seeing an earlier version installed on the laptop. And I made no mistake: The Apple updater offered installation of new software, not something that had been there before," Microsoft Watch's Joe Wilcox reported.

The potential for quick gains in market share is great. With over 100 million iPods already sold, and the large majority of them to Windows users, even if only a small percentage begin using Safari, Apple's browser market share would likely rise several points.

Safari has a market share of about 5.7 percent, according to NetApplications. Even without any help from Software Update on Windows, this number is up a percentage point over last year.

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