“The next complete release of IE is not slated to ship until 2005 — a geologic age in Internet time. And if past patterns hold true, most users will not upgrade to Longhorn until 2007 or even 2008. What are IE users to do in the meantime? Stagnate,” asks Stephanie Losi for E-Commerce Times.
“Not likely. A giant, gaping void has opened in the browser market. In the high-tech world, giant, gaping voids don’t tend to stay that way for long. A market vacuum is like catnip — and even in the low-margin browser arena, it is hard to imagine that no one will be interested in all that potential market share,” Losi writes.
“Who will step up to the plate,” Losi asks? “Safari, Apple’s browser for Mac OS X [is] perhaps the most interesting component of this discussion. According to published reports, Microsoft’s stated reason for exiting the Mac browser arena is that Safari is a better choice for Mac users. Safari is not currently available for Windows, but a case can be made that Apple could benefit from porting it to the Microsoft platform. After all, if Safari is a better choice for Mac users, it could be a better choice for Windows users, too.”
Losi writes, “True, Safari on Windows would not have the extra speed gained through OS X integration, but it would be an actively updated, in-development product for older versions of Windows — something IE is not anymore. The idea of moving forward and using the latest features and standards — tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking and spam filtering, to name just a few — instead of marking time might appeal to businesses and individuals alike.”
“Porting Safari also would be beneficial as a way to familiarize Windows users with the look and feel of Apple products. iPod for Windows was a first step in this direction, and when the iTunes Music Store for Windows is launched this fall, it will be another. If Windows users become well acquainted with Apple’s interface, they will be far more willing to consider a “Switch” when it comes time to replace their aging PCs. Anything Apple can do toward that goal seems worthwhile to me,” Losi writes. “In the meantime, the browser market hole gapes. For those who do not relish the prospect of upgrading to Longhorn to access the new version of IE two years from now, other, more immediate and interchangeable alternatives exist. The identity of IE’s heir should become apparent in the next few months.”
Full article here.