Computerized Investing > May/June 2008

Editor's Outlook: Apple Pulls a Microsoft

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by Wayne A. Thorp

Most Windows users have some piece of Apple software installed on their PCs. For me, it’s iTunes—so I can listen to my music while writing articles. Like many other software companies, Apple prompts the users of its software whenever they release an update or new version of a program with its Software Update utility. As an iTunes and QuickTime (Apple’s media player) user, I can expect the prompt window to appear every couple of weeks, urging me to install the latest versions.

A few months ago, Apple innocently or surreptitiously, depending on which side of the Apple versus Microsoft argument you are on, added an “update” option for its Safari Web browser. For many of us, present company sometimes included, seeing an “Ok” or “Install” button evokes a mouse-click stimulus/response reaction. Luckily, I noticed the word Safari, which prompted a closer look. I didn’t recall having Safari installed on my system, so I unchecked the Safari option and simply installed the iTunes update.

Well, as it turns out, the Safari “update” was actually a new installation, begging the question: “When is an update not really an update?” It appears that many other people were caught unaware, resulting in a fresh installation of Safari, whether they actually wanted it or not. And so a furor began.

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