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Browser Wars Redux

Apple Adds Features to Safari Browser [CNET News.com]. Apple Computer this morning released an updated beta version of its Safari Web browser as part of a reported effort to “distance its software environment from Microsoft’s.” Apple says that:

Safari offers you a superior Web experience with outstanding performance. Even the most complex of pages load at breakneck speed. Safari zips right by Microsoft’s Internet Explorer for the Macintosh, as it launches, loads pages, and executes JavaScript much more quickly. But that’s not all. Safari uses the advanced interface technologies underlying Mac OS X to offer you an all-new view of the Web, one that’s much easier to use.

Many folks, myself included, felt that the network effects characteristics of the software industry meant that the browser market had already “tipped” decisively to IE. Which would suggest that there is little reason for anyone, including Apple, to innovate in the browser space. So what is going on here? Platform independence perhaps, but it is unclear what the commercial benefits are (if any) that accrue to Apple from developing a new browser. Having said that, I am indebted to Steve Jobs and am rapidly becoming a devoted Safari user.

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