Safari For Windows Quietly Vanishes

Max ‘Beast from the East’ Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope.

If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

Follow on: Google +

Harry Houdini would be impressed

Apple has seemingly stopped supporting Safari for Windows, by removing any and all references and links to the Microsoft-friendly version of the browser from its website. From Wednesday, it only contains links to an OS X version.

Safari 6, released at the same time as OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, introduces plenty of new features, including Smart Search Field and Offline Reading List. But it seems that Windows users will have to look for alternatives.

Hunting Safari for Windows

After five years of Safari on Windows, the browser’s website suddenly dropped all mention of the rival operating system and now just lists the features of the new browser. There is not even a link to an older, still working version of the browser.

Browser ConceptAlthough there has been no official explanation for the disappearance from Apple, some users have speculated that a host of proprietary features designed for OS X simply cannot be adapted for Windows.

So what is it that the Windows users can’t get their hands on? Besides normal improvements to stability, compatibility, usability and security, Safari 6 has introduced:

  • One field for typing both searches and web addresses.
  • Offline Reading List that saves entire webpages to be viewed offline.
  • Password Pane – the new login detail manager.
  • Built-in support for Chinese search engine Baidu and Sina Weibo microblogging platform.

As noted by Forbes, Safari was never a big hit anyway. Its share of the browser market stands at five percent – smaller than the OS X market share of seven percent – meaning that even Apple devotees are using competitive software. For comparison, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is preferred by 54 percent of Internet users, followed by Firefox (20 percent) and Chrome (19 percent).

It is possible that the Windows version is simply delayed, while Apple is putting all of its effort into the launch on its own platform. The company is still supporting Webkit development for Windows – and, in fact, continues to release nightly builds of the open-source framework.

Safari 5.1.7, the latest version for Windows released in early May, can still be found on the Apple servers. You can get it here.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Google was close to settling for $22.5 million over claims it was sneakily bypassing privacy settings in Apple’s Safari, so it could track users’ activity with cookies.

How closely have you been following the evolution of the iPhone? Take our quiz!