Apple brings Safari to Windows

Apple expanded its presence on the Windows platform Monday when it released a Windows-compatible version of its Safari Web browser. Released as a public beta, the final version of Safari 3 will run on both Windows and Mac OS X 10.5.

Safari will sport the same features regardless of what platform it appears on. Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Worldwide Developers Conference attendees that the Windows version of Safari 3 has the same technology as the Leopard edition, including built-in Google and Yahoo search capabilities.

Apple decided to make Safari a cross-platform application to boost the Web browser’s market share. According to figures cited by Jobs, Safari currently captures about 5 percent of the browser market; Microsoft Explorer commands 78 percent of the market while Mozilla’s Firefox has a 15-percent share.

“The Mac’s market share is great, but we want to grow, and, in order to do that, we have to create a version of Safari on Windows,” Jobs told WWDC attendees. “And that’s exactly what we’ve done.”

Apple promises a speedy version of Safari for Windows. The company says that Safari performed an iBench HTML performance suite test twice as fast as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer — 2.2 seconds to IE’s 4.6 seconds. The Apple-built browser turned in similar performance on iBench’s Javascript test, completing the suite in less than a second compared to IE’s 2.4-second time.

Other changes in the latest version of Safari include an integrated Find banner that resides below the bookmarks bar, the ability to drag and drop tabs just like bookmarks, and resizable text fields. Once final, Safari 3 will also feature a toolbar button that activates the Web Clip feature for creating Dashboard widgets. You can read more about Safari 3’s new features in our first look at the browser beta.

Safari joins a growing number of Windows-compatible Apple programs; the company also produces versions of its iTunes music application and QuickTime multimedia player for Windows.

This article was updated at 4:40 p.m. PT on June 11, 2007, to add more information about Safari 3’s features, include a Steve Jobs quote from his keynote, and correct information about the number of Apple programs that run on Windows.

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