• United States
by Gillian Law

Microsoft ceasing IE development for the Mac

Jun 16, 20032 mins
AppleBrowsersEnterprise Applications

Microsoft will stop developing versions of its Internet Explorer browser software for Macintosh computers, saying that Apple’s Safari is now all that Apple needs.

Microsoft will no longer develop IE as independent software, only as part of its Windows operating system. “Browsers are now a generally established piece of the operating system and it doesn’t make sense to keep developing them separately,” Microsoft U.K. desktop marketing manager Neil Laver said Monday.

Microsoft’s development of IE for Apple’s computers was driven by a five-year agreement that has now lapsed, Laver said.

“We anticipated this, ever since they announced there would be no more stand-alone versions. If they’d continued to produce a Mac version it would have been a very unique product,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst with Forrester Research in San Jose.

Microsoft’s operating system and browser are very closely coupled, and now that Apple has developed its own browser, there’s no reason for Microsoft to continue development, he said.

The decision will cause concern for Mac users who use IE to access sites that are not accessible using other browsers. Many site developers develop purely for IE as it is the dominant browser worldwide.

Microsoft will continue to develop a version of its Office suite for Macs and its Virtual PC for Mac, Laver said. “We will definitely continue to support Internet standards,” he said.

However, Enderle was not convinced Office development will continue. “With this decision we may be seeing the first steps to pulling out of the Mac platform altogether. One of the jokes in the industry is about how long will it take for Gates and Ballmer to take their ball and go home,” he said.