Monday marked the 10th birthday of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Safari web browser. As the former head of the Safari team, ten years ago, Apple co-founder and then-CEO, Steve Jobs, introduced Apple’s first, and only browser for OS X.

Apple Safari

On Monday, Don Melton noted the 10th-year anniversary of the browser. Melton, who retired last year as Apple’s director of Internet Technologies, had been talking about Safari’s beginnings since mid-December. Melton reported that Jobs was intrigued over the name to be given to the browser, he did consider naming it “Freedom”, until finally settling on the Safari label.

On Jan. 7, 2003, Jobs revealed Safari. “So, buckle up. Got something totally new for you now,” he said this during the keynote of MacWorld, a conference and trade show once hosted by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Calling Safari “a turbo browser for OS X,” Jobs went on to say, “We have done our own browser. And it’s hot. It’s the first major new browser in five years.”

Before safari, OS X users were dependent upon a Mac version of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Internet Explorer, which was introduced in 1996. Mac version was also the default browser of Apple’s desktop operating system from 1998 until October 2003, when it was replaced by Safari at the launch of OS X 10.3, known as Panther.

In a five year deal between Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) in 1997, Mac edition of IE was bundled with OS X. Both the CEO’s, Jobs and Bill Gates, announced the partnership at a MacWorld conference, in August of that year. As per the terms of the deal, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) purchased $150 million of Apple’s stock in a five-year patent cross-licensing agreement. The deal also includes a settlement of the long standing patent dispute arising from Apple’s 1988 copyright infringement litigation accusing Microsoft of stealing its graphical user interface (GUI) to create Windows, Apple, however, lost the case.

Jobs, at the time unveiling Safari, was very excited about the speed “This is the fastest browser on the Mac” compared to IE for the Mac, Netscape, and Chimera, which used the same Gecko browser engine as did Netscape. Two of these three browsers have long been non-operational. Microsoft defunct IE for the Mac in mid-2003 and AOL retired Netscape in 2008. Chimera, the only survivor, has been renamed Camino. The latest safari version 6 was launched in mid-2012, as part of OS X Mountain Lion.

According to Web Analytics Company Net Application and StatCounter, Safari was a distant fourth to IE, Firefox and Google’s Chrome, last month.