When you install iTunes for Windows, you also have to install Quicktime, so that purchased tunes and AAC files, from the Apple music store can play properly.
Because Quicktime is always being updated, Apple also installs an auto-updater program, similar to the one which keeps Mac OS X in shape, so that as and when bugs which can compromise the security of your machine are patched, there is little effort needed on the part of the user to install the latest version. One click and you’re done.
This is a very good thing, because Quicktime flaws in the past have included loopholes which allow malicious code to execute commands outside of the Quicktime ecosystem, such as in your system folder – and anyone who’s had one of those Windows bugs, which repeatedly places “free porn” icons on your desktop, will know too well how bad that can get.
Because of vigilance and a responsible revision cycle, in the Quicktime department at Apple, so-far there is no known Malware in the wild, which affects either the Mac or Windows, via Quicktime. The same can not be said for a whole variety of similar programs for Windows, which playback video and audio.
Now, Mozilla CEO John Lilly, has criticised Apple for including in their auto-updater for iTunes / Quicktime, an offer to install version 3.1 of the Safari browser, even on machines which didn’t previously have an older version of Safari already installed.
Apple are accused of following a spamware model, which similar to applications like Real Player, impact upon customer’s trust of software vendors not to bundle hidden extras which give you more than you asked for when you install something you have little choice about using. Because the ubiquitous iPod requires iTunes / Quicktime to work properly and the iPod is the most popular MP3 music player on the market, by a considerable margin, Apple have a real vantage point in reaching out to Windows users who have perhaps never used any of their other products, like Mac OS X.
The really impressive thing about Safari is that on Windows it behaves exactly the same as it does on the Mac – at least to a certain extent, just as when you use iTunes on a Windows PC, everything is where you would expect it to be from the Mac version. Since Safari is by far the superior browser to anything else available on the Windows side, there’s little wonder Mozilla, makers of Firefox, are up in arms about Apple clearly using their dominance in the portable music player market to alert a potentially huge new customer base to their browser.
As a Mac user for some 15 years, I go way back to the dark days of the company, when Michael Dell famously said that, if he were in charge of Apple, he’d sell off its assets and call it a day. There was very nearly no such company as Apple at all, only 10 years ago. But thanks to a loyal user-base of people who always knew that with the right management, the Mac and Apple would rise again, here we are, dominant in the fastest growing sector of the music business with record sales of the Mac – which has bucked the trend in laptop sales across the whole sector and grown to something like 16 per cent market share – all thanks to Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive.
Anyone who thinks that Apple don’t deserve the right to alert Windows users to the arrival of a new browser on the market, by using iTunes as the gateway drug, clearly has a very short memory and a rose tinted view of what Apple are capable of in the fight for market share. In fact I personally think, if you’re honest about it, it’s probably about 4 or 5 years overdue, that we should see some real muscle flexing from the company that did, after all, invent the personal computer in the first place.
Too long have we had to sit idly by, watching second rate software and hardware claim itself to be “standard”, just because it only runs on one operating system. I personally jumped for gleeful delight when I read that literally billions of people around the world, who have iTunes installed on their Windows PC, woke up to a simple choice between staying with Internet Explorer, or but for the want of clicking ‘OK’, diving into a browser with the good taste to treat its user like an adult.