The Real Reason Behind Safari on Windows

Making Safari available for Windows was clearly an attempt to lay a foundation for the iPhone purchased by Windows users. However, the potential payoff and the underlying strategy is much deeper, according to Roughly Drafted on Friday.

Windows users have enjoyed the experience of using iTunes on Windows. So when Apple added Safari to the mix, it was easy to suppose that this was merely an extension of the success of iTunes, but also in support of the iPhone, which has the same version of Safari. According to Daniel Dilger, however, the Apple strategy is much deeper, more subtle, and more dramatic than previously thought.

"Safari on the Mac provides a Cocoa user interface on top of the WebKit display engine. On Windows however, Apple not only ported the Cocoa UI and WebKit, but also adapted Mac OS X?s Core Foundation and Core Graphics libraries to supply functionality missing on Windows," Mr. Dilger noted.

That opens the doors to all kinds of possibilities.

1. It means that Apple can showcase Apple technologies to Windows users who have embraced the iPod and will embrace the iPhone but are somehow stuck in Windows.

2. Developers can write cross platform apps that have the beauty and look of Mac OS X apps, run on Windows, and use Appleis Core Foundation/Graphics.

3. Internet audio and video standards that Apple adheres to and promotes filter their way into Windows, propelled by the popularity of new media technologies, and Microsoft can no longer slam the door shut.

To that end, Apple is laying a long term foundation that consolidates Cocoa on Mac and Windows, but deprecates Carbon.

This strategy has long term implications for Apple. Mr. Dilger surmised, "Never before have developers had less reason to stick with Microsoft or more reason to look at alternatives like Cocoa."