Apple stops 'sneaky' Safari distribution

As a result of markedly negative response from users and the press, Apple has stopped rolling out the Windows version of its Safari web browser as an "update" for iTunes and QuickTime users.

In the latest version of the iPod maker's Apple Software Update tool, which is numbered, optional software is now clearly separated from updates for already-installed applications. InformationWeek explains, "[The update tool] now clearly lists software that can be downloaded via the service and groups the updates into those for applications already on the user's computer and updates for new software." Additionally, users reportedly have the option to disable the automatic update service altogether.

This change in policy is clearly a response to criticism garnered by the previous Apple Software Update tool, which offered Safari as an "update" for all users of Apple software, regardless of whether they had the browser installed or not. This practice drew ire from both end users and other browser developers. Mozilla CEO John Lilly, for one, stated on his blog that Apple's method "borders on malware distribution practices."

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