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Apple's Safari License (Technically) Forbids Windows Installation [Updated]

Apple's Safari License (Technically) Forbids Windows Installation [Updated]

by , 8:30 PM EDT, March 26th, 2008

[Update: Apple has since modified the Windows version of the SLA for Safari for Windows to read, "This license allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on each computer owned or controlled by you." That change effectively eliminates any issues regarding installing Safari on Windows. - Editor]

Apple's license for Safari technically forbids installation on Windows computers that are not Apple-branded. The wording on the license -- which states that, "This License allows you to install and use one copy of the Apple Software on a single Apple-labeled computer at a time" -- came to attention during the hubbub surrounding Apple's decision to make Safari for Windows available through the Apple Software Updater that comes with iTunes on Windows.

The Apple Software Updater recently began offering Windows users Safari 3.1 as a download option, a move that has raised some hackles, especially in the Mozilla camp. The Apple Software Updater reminds users that, "Use of this software is subject to the original Software License Agreement(s) that accompanied the software being updated."

That license agreement was updated on January 28th, 2008, including the above-quoted phrase, even though Apple's first released Safari for Windows in 2007, and announced the release on June 11th, 2007. The paradoxical clause was first reported by Italian site setteB.it, and gleefully passed on by The Register UK.

It's not likely, of course, that Apple will be suing Windows users who install the software. Not only is it a preposterous idea worthy of little attention, Apple would be in the unenviable position of trying to enforce the unenforceable.

As Jonathan Kramer, an attorney with the Telecom Law Firm, told the Register, this particular issue falls under the parameter of an "impossibility issue." He added, "You can't enforce a term that's impossible." You can find the quote at the very bottom of The Register's coverage.

You can read the current version of the Safari license by accessing it under the Help menu in Safari, or on Apple's Web page of Software License Agreements. Both the Windows and Mac versions of the Safari license posted there include the offending clause as of this writing.

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