codeRambler Ramblings on code, the web, and technology

Microsoft finally retires IE 5 for the Mac
Thursday December 15th 2005, 1:07 pm
Filed under: CSS, Javascript, Web development

On December 14th 2005, Microsoft quietly published an update onto their web site. They announced they are finally ending all support for Macintosh Internet Explorer as of 31st December 2005 and will not be providing any further security or perfomance updates. Furthermore, the browser will not be available for download from January 31st, 2006. They then go on to actively promote users adopt Apple Safari as a “more recent browsing technology”.

This isn’t really completely new – it has been in Microsoft’s Lifecycle Policy document since at least June 2003 (as seen in this CNet news article from June 2003).

When it was first released in March 2000, version 5.x of IE for the Mac was much more standards compliant than it’s Windows counterpart – and even though Microsoft ended development over 2 and a half years ago, the browser still performed better at rendering CSS in a consistent fashion than more modern Windows Internet Explorer builds. That’s not to say the Macintosh version wasn’t ready for retirement… and without anyone remaining to develop it… it’s loyal users have quietly migrated away.

We now have Apple’s flagship Safari as well as the latest Firefox, Opera and Netscape browsers available for MacOSX as well as a dedicated following of less well-known browsers (including iCab and Camino) that remain in development.

I don’t think the loss of IE is going to be a problem for Mac users and web developers going forward – it will be good to see it finally drop off the web logs, though.

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