Microsoft on Friday officially dropped development of Internet Explorer for Macintosh. The company’s Macintosh Business Unit (MacBU) will release an update for the OS X version of the browser on Monday that will have security and performance enhancements, but no new features.
Microsoft said it would continue to support Internet Explorer 5 for the Mac for the foreseeable future, but development of the browser has been discontinued. Any future updates to the browser will only contain maintenance or security fixes, no new features.
“Support for IE 5 is not ending, but we will no longer be developing future versions of Internet Explorer,” Jessica Sommer Product Manager for MacBU told MacCentral.
Microsoft is discontinuing development for Internet Explorer in part because of Apple’s new Web browser, Safari. Apple is in a unique position of having unfettered access to the operating system that no other developer has.
“The feedback we’re getting from our customers and the features they’re asking for is all pointing to Apple and Safari,” said Sommer. “Apple has better resources because they have Safari and the operating system.”
Despite the fact that Internet Explorer development has stopped, Sommer said the rest of Microsoft’s Mac product line is safe, saying the company is working hard on the next version of Office and many other products.
“We are working diligently on the next version of Office — these [IE and Office] are not connected in any way. Office is still intact and going strong — there are no plans to stop development on Office for Mac even after the next version is released.”
Microsoft remains committed to the Mac, Sommer said, noting the recent release of MSN for Mac OS X and future updates to other products that are in the works.
“Microsoft and the MacBU continue to be committed to the Mac platform. We are excited about the new versions of products coming out like Office, Virtual PC, Messenger and MSN for Mac OS X. Our commitment hasn’t wavered, it’s just a matter of doing what’s right to meet customer needs.”
An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment on the decision.