Mozilla CEO: Apple Safari update is 'just wrong'

Mozilla CEO John Lily says that Apple's decision to use its Windows software update application to push downloads of its Safari browser on iTunes users was bad for the security of the Web.

Lily's claim may strike some as a bit of sour grapes -- since Apple could viably eat into Mozilla's own market share of those looking for a alternative to Internet Explorer. However, he argues that it is a breach of user trust.

While a user has the option to uncheck the update, Lily argues that most will just press the "Install" button, which automatically installs Safari possibly without the user realizing what he or she has done.

"Apple has made it incredibly easy -- the default, even -- for users to install ride along software that they didn't ask for, and maybe didn't want," he says, "This is wrong, and borders on malware distribution practices."

Mozilla seems to view the practice as possibly making users leery of future upgrades, as they may install things that they didn't ask for. While he is not saying Safari is unsafe, he's rather saying a user who is more averse to updating could put themselves at risk for acquiring unwanted software.

Not everybody agrees with Lily though. Joe Wilcox, author of Microsoft Watch and one of the first to speak out about the practice, seems to have taken the side of Apple. He calls some of the controversy ridiculous.

"Apple's Safari distribution tactic is sheer brilliance. Apple is co-opting Microsoft's monopoly product. Other developers shipping updaters should follow Apple's approach," he argues, saying Microsoft has done much the same with some of its Live products.

"Apple is smart to leverage its iTunes installed base. One word describes this behavior: competition."

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