Instead, Apple has a stake in making sure that Safari has strong support in the market from users and developers because it is a critical piece of the Mac OS and will serve as the primary application development environment for the iPhone, he said.
Revenue from the search bar could play a role in the reason behind making Safari for Windows but it's probably not the primary one, said Danielle Levitas, an analyst at IDC. "I think the revenue is not insignificant," she said. "Maybe it's the tactical reason but the strategic initiative is more about the connected device vision and using the browser to deliver Web-based applications." Apple appears to be trying to position itself so that it can control Web access in a variety of devices, including phones, televisions and computers, she noted.
The move to Windows could encourage the development of more attractive applications built on Safari because developers will be able to create applications on Safari that can reach Mac and Windows users as well as the iPhone, Van Baker, a research vice president at Gartner wrote in a blog posting on Friday. He doesn't mention the potential revenue gain as a reason.
Whatever the reason, Apple has already learned that Windows users are interested in Safari. On Thursday, Apple said that 1 million copies of the Safari for Windows beta were downloaded in the first 48 hours after it became available.
Safari has around 5 percent of the browser market share, compared to Microsoft's Internet Explorer's 78 percent and 15 percent for Mozilla's Firefox.