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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Microsoft bids Internet Explorer for Mac farewell

Microsoft plans to discontinue support for its Internet Explorer browser on Mac OS X at the end of this year.

The software developer mothballed the browser, which is currently on version 5.2, in June 2003 after Apple released Safari. Development ever since has been limited to the release of security patches.

Microsoft's website as recent as last November touted Internet Explorer as an "award winning" browser that "makes it easy to view and find information on the internet." That webpage was changed last week and is now informing visitors that: "In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates."

Microsoft plans to pull the download from its website on 31 January.

Internet Explorer was once the dominant web browser on the Mac platform and was bundled with the OS X operating system as the default browser. But after Apple released its Safari web browser, the vendor has slowly phased out support for the Microsoft browser.

The OS X operating system initially shipped with both IE and Safari, the latter being set as the default browser. Safari become the only browser included with the system when Apple released OS X 10.4 Tiger last April.

The current number of Internet Explorer users is expected to be minimal. In November Safari claimed a 2.78 per cent share of overall browser market, according to data from Net Applications. The firm didn't split out users of Internet Explorer for the Mac from the Microsoft browser's overall share.

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