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Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 12:54 pm PT (03:54 pm ET)

Apple apparently kills Windows PC support in Safari 6.0

With the launch of Safari 6.0 for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and the release of a 6.0 update for existing Safari users on OS 10.7 Lion, Apple appears to have shelved efforts to continue developing Safari for Windows.

The previous version of Safari 5.1.7 for Windows is still available for download on a special support page, but all mention of a PC version of the web browser have been scrubbed from the company's main website.

Searching for "Safari" from Apple's website currently brings up the former headline in the Quick Search results (shown below), saying, "Safari for Mac + PC. The fastest easiest-to-use browser in the world, now available for Mac + PC."



However, when you arrive at the apple.com/safari page it directs you to, there's only information on the latest 6.0 version of Safari, highlighting features unique to the new version, including its unified Smart Search field, Tab View, iCloud Tabs, Sharing, Offline Reading List, and improvements for Chinese users, none of which are available in the existing Windows version.

At the bottom of the page, Apple notes, "the latest version of Safari is available in Mountain Lion. The latest version of Safari for Lion is available through Software Update." There is no longer any direct download link supplied for Safari 6.0, although Apple's site continues to list download links of Safari Extensions.

Apple focuses on Safari for OS X, iOS

Apple's Steve Jobs first announced Windows PC support in Safari 3.0 at Macworld Expo in 2007. The primary goal of that new version was to push the adoption of modern, standards-based browsing by making Safari's WebKit browser widely available as an alternate to Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox (originally Phoenix) browser built on the ashes of Netscape.

However, while adoption of Safari among PC users has been limited, Google's free Chrome browser, based on the same WebKit engine as Safari, has achieved wide distribution, virtually erasing the need for Apple to develop and support its own browser for Windows.

Additionally, Apple's subsequent success with iOS, paired with the nearly unanimous use of WebKit by other mobile platform vendors (including Nokia, RIM, Palm, Google and others) has effectively made WebKit the only significant mobile web browser engine.

By terminating support for the Windows platform, Apple can focus on the development of features unique to its own platforms, as represented by many of the unique features in Safari 6.0. Apple is still supporting continued, open development of WebKit on a variety of different platforms.

Downloads for other Windows software, including iTunes, QuickTime and Bonjour printer support, are still available and do not appear to have changed. Some Apple web pages, including the QuickTime page for Windows downloads, still link to "Safari for Mac + PC," but those links all now direct to information that only applies to Mac and iOS devices.