We’re probably long gone at the point where we’re used to Safari being the default browser on Apple devices. But that was not always so.
Safari was born on Macs in 2003, and before that, Macs relied on what we might call a browser market… difficult.
So why did Apple decide to work on its own browser? Steve Jobs is partly to blame for this.
Steve Jobs and Internet Explorer
Before Safari, the dominant browser on Macs was the same browser that was dominant on all PCs: Internet Explorer.
Those who didn’t feel like using Microsoft’s browser at the time used the Netscape Navigator. A distant and early relative of Mozilla Firefox.
At a time when Apple and Microsoft were at odds more than ever, Steve Jobs didn’t like Internet Explorer dominating his Macs.
Again and again, the two provoked each other more or less directly and for many years had no good words for each other’s products.
Would you like an example? When Gil Amelio, the then CEO of Apple, wanted to buy Steve Jobs’ company NeXT in 1996 in order to get Apple back on board, Gates had clear words:
‘Don’t you see that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a great salesman. I can’t believe you’re making such a stupid decision.”
– Bill Gates (via Business Insider)
Only a year later, the two have more or less made peace, but the rivalry between the two has never quite died down. Even if it wasn’t so ugly anymore.
Bill Gates said the following about Steve Jobs after his death:
»We encouraged each other, even as competitors. Nothing [von dem, was er sagte] bothers me”
A few years later – Alexander, Freedom & Safari
In addition to various other things that Jobs turned inside out at Apple over the next few years, it was also Internet Explorer’s turn.
So the task was clear: Mac OS X had to get its own browser. Even if Jobs’ relationship with Gates has improved.
A browser was needed that had advantages over the others due to the integration of hardware and software that is so characteristic of Apple.
As the development team got to work in the summer of 2002, Steve tasked his marketing team with coming up with a name for the browser.
An easy task? No: just a month before the browser was unveiled, there was still debate as to what name it should be. The code name
Alexanderbut it was completely unsuitable for the final product.
According to developer Dan Melton, who was involved with the project, several names were in the pipeline. One of the names that had a chance was »Freedom«. This should reflect Apple’s independence from Microsoft.
In the end, however, Steve decided on »Safari«. He wanted to relate to web surfing in some way. In his opinion, Safari was an original and unique title that should set Apple’s browser apart from the competition.
The rest is history – This is how Steve Jobs introduced Safari at the first keynote in 2003:
Link to YouTube content
Over the years, Safari has continually reinvented itself and introduced new features that sometimes have stayed with us and sometimes not. What memories do you have of previous versions of Safari? Are you still using Internet Explorer on Apple devices? As always, let us know what you think about Safari and your experiences in the comments!