Back in June of 2003 the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer (IE) for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005. As promised, tomorrow Microsoft will end all support for IE for Mac, and will provide no further security or performance updates. Wait a minute! IE has security and performance? But, I digress.
As of January 31st, 2006, IE will no longer be available for download from www.mactopia.com. Thus ends the Mac user’s love-hate relationship with what was once considered the premiere browser on the Mac platform.
The beginning of the end came with the arrival of Safari, Apple’s internet-standards-compliant browser. Safari was (and is) many things IE was not. Safari has a fast, powerful rendering engine (the thing that makes the pretty pictures show up faster). Safari blocks pop-up ads right out of the box no add-ons required. Safari offers tabbed browsing and handles RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feeds with ease and aplomb.
The middle of the end came with the arrival of Mozilla’s Firefox, another internet-standards-compliant browser. Firefox is a distant cousin of Netscape, which ruled the browser roost until IE came along in the first place. Firefox is fast, feature-filled (some would argue more than Safari), and free.
The end of the end comes in January, when you’ll no longer be able to get your hands on IE. Does that mean that we should all rejoice and remove IE from our Macs, as it’s just been taking up hard drive space for awhile anyway?
No. One big reason (well, two, maybe). First, notice that I’ve described both Safari and Firefox as “standards-compliant” browsers. IE is not “standards-compliant”, it’s “Microsoft compliant”. There’s a big difference. Many web site developers build their sites to “look and feel their best” when viewed with IE, even though IE’s way of doing things differs from industry standards. So, you should keep IE on your Mac to view the occasional site (and, yes, Virginia, there are thankfully fewer each year) that is only useable from within IE.
The (maybe) second reason is occasionally you should open IE just to see how much better Safari and Firefox really are.
So, since you need IE on your Mac, you should take the opportunity to go to Mactopia and download the latest (and last) version of IE. Farewell, IE. We hardly knew ‘ye.
© 2005 Peter F. Zimowski