Apple Safari - How Did I Get That Icon?
25th March 2008
Millions of Windows users have Apple QuickTime or
Apple iTunes installed.. but not Apple have decided
that those applications aren't enough, and have opted
those millions of users into their own web browser -
Apple Safari. As a result, those millions of
users are looking at their desktop and wondering just
how did I get that icon?
Here's the evidence that Apple are foisting this
application on unsuspecting users, in a manner that
is arguably unethical.
A common way to install QuickTime is to visit www.apple.com/quicktime
and to click on the "Free Download" button.
For Windows XP, there are just two options. QuickTime
with or without iTunes. In this case, we selected QuickTime
It's quite a hefty application at 22Mb, but never
mind. Let's download it and install it.
So, now we're installing the application and QuickTime
is asking us about updates. Updates are good, right?
After all, QuickTime 7 has had a staggering 17
security issues according to Secunia, and these
have been several
active exploits. In other words, installing QuickTime
and not updating it will probably lead to
the bad guys getting control of your PC.
The installation is complete, and we have a QuickTime
Player icon on the desktop (the icon underneath is the
Installer we downloaded earlier).
Instead of waiting, let's go into the Control Panel
and update QuickTime from there.
There's an Update tab, with an Update button on it.
Let's press that.
Despite the fact that we have only just installed
QuickTime, this application says "Apple Software
updates are available for your computer. Would you like
to update now?". In fact, the only Apple software
on this machine is QuickTime.. there are no other applications
at all. Clicking OK brings us onto..
..this. Well just wait a moment. The dialogue box
say New software is available from Apple. "Select
the items you want to update, then click Install). Listed
underneath it has iTunes + QuickTime as one product
- there is no way to download QuickTime without iTunes.
And then underneath is Safari. Both boxes are
ticked, so the default is to install QuickTime, iTunes
and Safari. (To be fair, Apple have done the iTunes
+ QuickTime thing for a while now, but it's still annoying).
This is a much bigger download than the original
22Mb, totalling nearly 90Mb. Imagine having all your
corporate PCs do this. Yes, there are a couple of EULAs
too, but who reads those?
Your software has been successfully installed.. whether
or not you wanted it is another matter.
And now you have iTunes and Safari.. but you only
Just to make it more fun, if you actually run the
Safari icon it tries to set itself as the default browser
(the Yes button is animated).
Is this ethical?
Is this ethical? After all, you only wanted QuickTime
and now you have two other commercial applications that
you weren't expecting. iTunes, in particular, starts
all sorts of services and processes that you don't want.
And Safari probably now crops up when you least expect
it if you made it the default browser.
It's all about money, of course. Apple are hoping
that you'll buy stuff from iTunes and the Apple store
because the applications have now invaded your desktop.
Of course, a company like Apple would never do anything
unethical.. would it? Well, if this had been a lesser
known company then it would have been accused of pushing
adware when it wasn't wanted. Ultimately, is there a
difference between adding a few toolbars to an unsuspecting
user's PC and giving them a whole new web browser?
I have nothing against Safari as a browser, but if
I didn't want it then I don't want it. Yes, I
can get rid of it.. until next time.
Businesses may have a more serious problem. That
application you thought wasn't going to be an issue
is now pulling down a 90Mb download per client, users
are ringing up to wonder why their web browser has changed
and all this is costing time and money.
This behaviour from Apple is not excusable, so if
you can live without QuickTime and iTunes then you are
best off deinstalling them.. forever. Businesses may
want to add QuickTime to their banned list,
presumably to sit alongside iTunes. These applications
certainly border on being unsolicited commercial software,
and they introduce a whole set of new potential security
risks to any business using them.
One final thought.. if Microsoft had behaved
in this way, just how quickly do you think a lawsuit
would have been filed?
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