Browser Wars

I recently downloaded and tested Apple’s Safari browser on my Windows-based computer and wow is it fast. Frankly I was the last person I expected to switch to Safari, but I just did. Graphically speaking, it is the nicest browser on the market but it is far from perfect.

There is no Alexa toolbar for Safari yet and no Google toolbar (for the PC version). Still, the browser does have a Google search box located in the upper right hand corner.

What I like most about the Apple-based browser is the speed and the gorgeous design of the the browser software. Firefox too seems to be getting faster but I can’t get used to the look of Mozilla’s latest creation.

While using Safari on a fast connection, even the most graphically rich sites out there — CNN, TMCnet, ESPN, etc — load like lightening.

Our webmaster Robert Hashemian commented that after witnessing Safari, it is obvious that graphically rich sites with less than rapid load times are limited more by the browser than the server. Boy is he right.

The challenge I now face is fascinating. I have some sites I go to which only work with IE. I have other sites that don’t work well with anything but FireFox. For my everyday browsing I now prefer Safari.

What this means is I need to have three browsers running at all times.

While I admit I am probably a power browser user, I wonder if this problem won’t become more widespread as people begin to discover and use Safari on the PC.

I don’t necessarily have an answer to this problem but I do expect major Safari support from most websites in the future. I also think there will be very tight integration between iTunes and Safari meaning the millions of iTunes users will likely consider switching as well.

Interestingly, software like Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access (OWA) displays poorly on Safari as compared to IE. So we can expect to see more browser tuning of applications going forward.

One wonders if the browser wars will make life more difficult for the average user in the following way. What is to prevent Apple from negotiating with eBay to ensure eBay works best with Safari? There is potential for life to get more challenging for browser users if this practice starts to become widespread.

I can even see a consortium of companies who compete with Microsoft coming together with Apple and Mozilla to ensure their sites work worst with IE.

Much the same way there are restaurants which take one credit card or another, we are going to be faced with some sites that just work poorly on certain browsers. So we can expect more widespread problems for people who stick with a single type of browsing software.

If the losers are the users, who will be the winner of the browser wars? Certainly the companies who supply memory chips and faster processors.

What’s your opinion?

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