Mac IE Development Team Dissolved?

Saturday May 13th, 2000

Microsoft has dissolved the Mac IE development team, according to this report at MacInTouch (scroll down to May 11. There are confirmations in the May 12th news). You can read another more detailed confirmation on the MacInTouch front page (which contains their May 13 news).

There is a forum at metafilter discussing what Microsoft's reasoning could be behind the decision.

I find the dynamics of this quite intriguing. The statement of the Microsoft PR person (see the first MacInTouch link) gives an impression that the team is not dissolved, but this view is deemed false by the three independent confirmations. MacCentral has decided to believe the Microsoft PR person.

Who to believe? Does it matter? The fact is that Microsoft doesn't have a cross-platform strategy, even for the two platforms that they support. This was clear when MacIE5 came out and trounced the WinIE development team's efforts. I had been wondering how Microsoft would deal with this situation. Would they continue Mac development on a separate track, duplicating (or surpassing) the efforts of the Win IE team? Or would they attempt a cross-platform effort similar to Mozilla? I didn't expect that they'd dissolve the Mac development effort completely. But, then again, those Apple people are getting a bit uppity, with their iMacs and G4s and new OS...

I think Microsoft will have to come up with some strategy to deal with the fact that their two browser efforts are diverging so drastically. It is very difficult to claim that IE is a solid, consistent development platform when the feature sets on Mac and Windows are so different. And what about web appliances like WebTV? How can MS convince developers to develop across 3 differing browser implementations, especially when Mozilla can offer a consistent cross-platform development environment? I think this might be the first move of Microsoft to address this issue. Whether it means that they give up the Mac platform completely, or just temporarily, I think it shows that even Microsoft has a limit to the number of developers it is willing to commit to a non-revenue-generating enterprise.

BTW... I read the news at Taylor's website, while looking at an interesting piece on "bidirectional links". Why do I mention this? I'm interested to see if mozillaZine shows up on his bidirectional links list!

UPDATE: Another non-denial denial, this time from the IE5 for Mac Program Manager, Jimmy Grewal, in the microsoft.public.inetexplorer.mac newsgroup. However, Jimmy does state that Mac IE developers (not all?) have been moved to another project and that "In fact, we are working on a new release of MacIE that will ship on the MacOS X CD." However, it's important to note that nothing he says is contrary to what the sources at MacInTouch say, and it sounds quite like what the PR guy stated at MacInTouch (just more verbose).

#46 Re: Re: Re: I don't get it.

by BrerBear

Tuesday May 16th, 2000 1:36 PM

You are replying to this message

regelb said: "It complies with all the standards. What is it that you would have them do? You want them to think up new standards? Exactly what would you change about MacIE?"

I said _emerging_ standards. You think the web is standing still or something? Let me quote you from the Macworld review of Mac IE 5, linked directly from Microsoft's own Mactopia site: "But IE 5 still has a ways to go; it offers only partial support for the XML, CSS-2, and DOM-1 standards, which will usher in the next wave of Web innovation." Does that answer your question?

Then rgelb said: "As far as why I would believe MS on this. Being a software developer myself, I understand why what they said makes sense."

As far as why I don't believe MS on this (besides being a software devloper myself)... I got my info from former developers on MacIE.

Besides of which, I think you missed my point entirely. MS has every right to cancel Mac IE, which I consider to be a great browser and use on a regular basis. My concern was that MS were going to keep it quiet as long as possible, and that Apple and Mac fans need to get to work _now_ on other browsers so that the Mac platform doesn't lose viability in the future. As the delays in Mac IE 5 point out, it takes a lot of time and effort to make a great browser.