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Apple Software Update Results

I presume everyone remembers the whole debate about Apple misusing Software Update to push Safari to iTunes users. For those who don’t, I’d suggest reading John Lilly’s blog post on the topic. Several prominent Mozilla bloggers spoke out about that practice.

It did help their market share according to Net Apps, though we’re talking 0.07 for Safari 3.0 vs. 0.21% for Safari 3.1. Not major, but still noteworthy that it did get installs.

To put this into a little more perspective, Apple has over 35 million iTunes installations (thanks mostly to the iPod). How many of which use software updater, I can’t find any way to accurately guess.

As of the latest release, Apple now separated software updates from installs in their updater, but still keeps it checked by default. It makes me wonder how many people realize it, and how many just find the strange icon on their computer. This could backfire in the long run and become thought of as crapware when it’s not in fact a “free trial” but legitimate fully usable complete software.

I suspect this will be a topic of discussion for several months to come in the software world.

3 replies on “Apple Software Update Results”

I didn’t think much of this until couple weeks ago one of my peers asked me if I knew what Safari was. He installed iTunes for his iPod and when he updated iTunes, Apple’s Software Update brought Safari up. He ended up installing Safari because he thought it might be something iTunes uses. He definitely didn’t want a new browser.

I think the statistic is a little misleading. What you need to do is subtract the number of people would use Safari without the updater from the 0.21% (actually 0.23% for 3.0 3.1) number. You can estimate the first by extrapolating the trend before 3.1. It looks like 0.08% wouldn’t be a terrible choice. You might be generous and say that a good amount heard about 3.1 and installed it separately.

So let’s just say 0.10% was from previous Safari users or those who got it (or would have) separately from iTunes. That means that about 0.11-0.13% was from iTunes. So they probably doubled their market share because of the move, but they didn’t triple it.

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