Microsoft Cancels Development of Internet Explorer for Mac

Friday June 13th, 2003

CNET is reporting that there will be no new versions of Internet Explorer for the Mac. The Mac OS version of IE has not received a major update since early 2000 when Internet Explorer 5 for Mac was released (rumours of the product's demise began circulating shortly after). The Mac version of IE5 contained a new rendering engine, Tasman, which was hailed by standards advocates at the time of its launch. MSN for Mac OS X, released last month, contains an updated version of Tasman.

The news of Mac IE's demise comes hot on the heels of reports that there may be no more standalone releases of IE for Windows.

#1 A (or perhaps, "the") big oportunity

by pcabellor

Friday June 13th, 2003 9:28 PM

So now Mozilla and Safari have a market share left alone. Though capturing the Mac market may not be a significant victory per se, it will be a great exhibit for Windows users still relying on IE for web browsing.

Standards-based web vision is as possible as good is/are web browsers. Standards-based web is as real as these web browsers' market share.

The second assertion has just got a push.

#2 Re: A (or perhaps, "the") big oportunity

by mlefevre

Saturday June 14th, 2003 6:11 AM

Well that is a positive point for us and web standards.

On the other side, the fact is that most users are using IE. If there are no more versions of IE, many of those users (Mac or Windows) will stay with their existing versions of IE rather than switch to a different browser. If there were new versions of IE with continued improvement in standards support, the number of people with better browsers would go up a lot faster than it will if people have to switch.

#4 Re: Re: A (or perhaps, "the") big oportunity

by turi

Saturday June 14th, 2003 7:03 AM

I think this depends heavily on Apple. If they install Safari (or whatever) instead of IE as standard browser, then that'll be what people surf the net with. Will be interesting.

#11 exactly

by joschi

Saturday June 14th, 2003 7:44 PM

and since ie now has no future, this is the most likely expectation. a very cool development for open standards.

#3 Resource issue?

by Galik

Saturday June 14th, 2003 6:11 AM

Could this be a resource issue? Are M$ having to fight on too many fronts? Is the scalability of OSS development coming into it's own? It's only a matter of time...

#5 Re: Resource issue?

by mlefevre

Saturday June 14th, 2003 7:17 AM

I think it's just that they just don't have a strategic interest in doing it. What does Microsoft gain at this point from giving away a standards-compliant browser to Mac users?

as they said, "Some of the key customer requests for web browsing on the Mac require close development between the browser and the OS, something to which only Apple has access".

By which I guess they mean (as the "no standalone IE" article indicates) that IE is going to keep moving towards being tightly integrated into the OS (which is apparently a "key customer request"...) and their multimedia stuff and whatever else. They can't control the OS on Macs and lock people into Microsoft stuff, so they're not interested in making browsers for it.

#15 Re: Resource issue?

by tseelee

Sunday June 15th, 2003 2:24 PM

I wouldn't worry about MS fighting too many fronts if I were Gates. Check out MSN, Xbox, etc. They've got a $40B war chest (read: cold hard cash) and they'll not part w. it so long as the Justice Dept plays friends w. them.

#6 What a relieve!

by wiredearp

Saturday June 14th, 2003 7:31 AM

This is a great boost for web development on all platforms. Safari, Camino, Mozilla, upcoming versions of Firebird and Opera, even the newly redesigned Omniweb browser, all support higher order DOM interfaces that that were critically lacking in the Macintosh edition of Internet Explorer. The potential of standard based development is free to be discovered, adopted and exploited on a large scale. But ironically the Internet Explorer platform will benefit the most. The MS proprietary DOM extensions and the Explorer equivalent of XBL will loose the only significant obstacle to halt their advance [namely the Macintosh version of their own product rather than standard based browsers]. And since these are highly competent technologies in their own right - especially when coupled with the MSXML extension that were also missing on the Macintosh platform - the predicted two year stasis of IE development may just have been cancelled by this move. A day to celebrate, even so.

#8 IE benefits--don't think so

by webgremlin

Saturday June 14th, 2003 10:49 AM

I don't get why you think Internet Explorer as a platform benefits most.

If you're talking about Microsoft itself, clearly nobody there cared that the windows version had dozens of advanced development features that were never going to get ported to Mac.

If you're talking about the web development community at large, the situation for them hasn't changed much. If someone was developing only for MSIE, they were already excluding all Mac browsers--IE for Mac is different enough from IE for Win that making things work right in IE Mac makes them closer to Moz-compatible than IE Win-compatible.

So for people trying to implement advanced MSIE scripting, e.g., MSXML or behaviors, they are in exactly the same position they were before: it works on 90%+ of Windows browsers and 0% of Mac browsers. The only work-around is to also develop for Moz's XML/XSLT engine.

-wg <><

#16 Re: What a relieve!

by tseelee

Sunday June 15th, 2003 9:46 PM

I don't get this post. MS has never been hindered on the Windows platform by any Mac software, incl. their own. If it can't popularize MSXML it's their own fault.

#7 How Ironic!!

by tseelee

Saturday June 14th, 2003 9:00 AM

World-dominating Microsoft cedes browser market to another OS-integration co. Well done, Apple! (FWIW, integration by a non-monopolistic firm does not hinder competition and thus is not an offense as is Microsoft's.)

#9 Re: How Ironic!!

by robdogg

Saturday June 14th, 2003 2:24 PM

>>>FWIW, integration by a non-monopolistic firm does not hinder competition and thus is not an offense as is Microsoft's<<<

How is that? It certainly is monopolistic. Apple is enforcing monopoly on the apple desktop. Since Safari will come as the default browser (and it's pretty good), other browsers (fb, camino, opera) will be limited to single digit shares of the apple market. It has been proven over and over again.

Sounds like you are willing to look the other way, as long as it is not Microsoft.

#12 No

by googolplex

Saturday June 14th, 2003 8:27 PM

No, it's not monopolistic. First of all, Apple isn't a monopoly. People can choose to not use a Mac, easily. Thus Apple isn't subject to anti-trust laws. Also, Apple isn't integrating Safari with the system, just bundling it. IE is part of Windows. Safari is just an app on OS X with the possibity of becoming an open framework for all developers.

When one car company sells their cars with only one kind of tires is that monopolistic? Following this analogy, Apple is bundling good tires, but it's still easy for you to get new tires or buy a different brand of car. Microsoft makes it difficult to buy different kinds of cars and has glued the tires on.

#13 Re: No

by IsoSchi

Sunday June 15th, 2003 10:43 AM

> Microsoft makes it difficult to buy different kinds of cars and has glued the tires on.

And as a result, they don't turn very well at all...

#14 Re: Re: How Ironic!!

by tseelee

Sunday June 15th, 2003 11:50 AM

googolplex elaborated on what I meant to say, so I'll say that a monopoly is defined only for properly-defined markets. Apples may do things differently from other PCs, but they compete for the same customers, so the market in question is the personal computer market. Antitrust is concerned with fair competition, and what 3% of a market does cannot affect it that much, so even if Apple integrates apps into the OS it's still legal, cuz ppl can always go another route. Not true w. Microsoft.

#10 microsoft: sitting on it

by _rgw_

Saturday June 14th, 2003 4:43 PM

They have the market share, they don't have to innovate anymore...or atleast that is what they think.

#17 Good news, less IE-only sites

by ed_welch

Monday June 16th, 2003 1:51 AM

I think MAC users have a significant large portion of the market that this will force webmasters that only designing for IE to change their ways. MAC is the de-facto OS for the graphic design, sound and publishing industry's and it would be bad business to exclude these users from accessing your web site. I think this will happen soon as well, as IE5 doesn't work very well for OSX and a lot of MAC users are migrating to OSX now, if they haven't done that already.

#18 Re: Good news, less IE-only sites

by mlefevre

Tuesday June 17th, 2003 7:15 AM

Macs don't have a large portion of the market though. Looking at a few web stats, Mac browsers tend to be between 2% and 6%. There are there, but it's not a huge portion.

And although Mac OS may be the defacto OS for graphic design, most graphic design businesses have PCs as well. Many IE-only sites are in fact Windows-IE-only sites, so they are already excluding Mac users - for those sites, this makes no difference.