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Will Apple’s Safari become a rich, Internet application container?

When Steve Jobs put up the slide at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week that the Safari browser would be available on Windows, there was interest but not much discussion in the blogosphere of why Apple would do it. Some thought it was stupid to try and fight the browser war on Windows.

I see the logic of it and think it’s stealthy, clever and absolutely brilliant. Here’s why…

Apple announced at WWDC that there are currently 500 million active users of iTunes. Every iTunes installation has Quicktime in it. Thinking about the huge install base of Quicktime for some time, I’ve been puzzled why Apple wasn’t taking advantage of Quicktime as a delivery mechanism for cool online-n-offline functionality that is being delivered by Adobe’s AIR and Microsoft’s Silverlight.

But then Steve Jobs shows Safari on Windows and I had one of those forehead-slap moments and a “Doh!” utterance: Safari will be the rich, internet application (RIA) container, not just Quicktime alone!

In his keynote, Jobs emphasized over-n-over again that “the iPhone contains the exact same version of Safari as this one” when describing Safari 3, played up strongly that this same Safari runs on the iPhone and that developers can now create apps for the iPhone by delivering them inside of Safari!

Check out this at the 37Signals blog where Jason says, “That is a bold idea. Very forward thinking. A whole new product with the opportunity for a whole new platform. But instead Apple chooses simple and familiar: HTML and Javascript. Tens of millions of developers already know it. Instant developer uptake and an instant batch of apps that likely already work with the iPhone.” Then look at the first comment which says, “I fully agree. And these are scary times for those who try to push RIA  technology like Flex and Silverlight.” (Note: John Gruber has a much different take on Apple’s positioning of writing Web apps for the iPhone with Safari, “It’s insulting, because it’s not a way to write iPhone apps, and you can’t bullshit developers.

But it gets better.

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