Eulogy for Mac IE

We all knew it was coming…all that’s left is the final nail in the coffin, which Microsoft has finally delivered.

In June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005. 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.

Additionally, as of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac will no longer be available for download from Mactopia. It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple’s Safari.

Raise your hand if you really care. I didn’t think so. Of the last 100,000 visitors to my website, only 500 were using IE 5 Mac. Statistically significant if they had a terminal illness and I was looking for access to treatment (hey, that’s where my mind is these days) but not gonna worry about them as a web developer. My kids still use IE 5 on their Mac mini as most of the Shockwave-heavy games they play don’t run as well in Firefox or Safari.

It’s one of those cases where no one notices you until you die, and then they come out of the woodwork to sing your praises (or spit on your grave as the case may be) and take a turn at the podium at the funeral.

Jimmy Grewal, who worked on IE has an interesting read on the subject on his blog. I particularly like where he pulls a comment from the aforementioned Slashdot page:

3 or 4 years went by before enough people in the Mac division wanted to resume work on IE, and when it looked like we might actually need the technology, as a base for MSN-for-Mac, the IE 6 team was formed. It got a firm OS X-only foundation, a new even more compliant browser base, and then suddenly it became apparent that Apple was doing their own browser, because, well, there were lots of small clues, but the big clues was that Apple had started calling the old Mac IE team offering them jobs.

LOL! Ya think?

It’s hard not to be nostalgic about good ‘ole IE 5. It was pretty good for its day. Remember all those folks stubbornly refusing to switch to the “evil empire” from Netscape? Eventually, everyone was running Mac IE as their main browser, but wouldn’t dare admit it in mixed company.

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