Microsoft Preps Mac IE Updates

On its way out to pasture, the Macintosh browser is getting updated for Mac OS X as well as earlier versions.

Microsoft Corp. may be winding down development of the Mac version of Internet Explorer, but the venerable browser still has a couple of minor updates in it.

The Redmond, Wash., company today will deliver Internet Explorer 5.2.3 for Mac OS X. Microsoft said the update to the longstanding Version 5 will feature enhancements to security and performance as well as "improved browser compatibility for enterprise users who work on a network with secure authentication or with proxy servers."

Within the next month, Microsoft will also provide similar enhancements to users of older Mac OSes when it delivers Internet Explorer 5.1.7 for Mac OS 8/9.

The releases mark the final stages in development for Internet Explorer, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs dubbed the Mac OS "browser of choice" in the wake of a 1998 technology-sharing deal between Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple and Microsoft.

Version 5.2 for Mac OS X, released one year ago almost to the day, added support for a variety of Apple-specific features and technologies, including improved screen display using Mac OS Xs Quartz imaging model. At the time, executives declared Microsofts continued support for the OS X browser. "We think people will be extremely pleased with the new rendering abilities of Internet Explorer. Our goal is to continue to provide the best browser available for the Mac platform," Kevin Browne, then-general manager of Microsofts Macintosh Business Unit, said at that time.

Microsoft on Friday said that it will cease development of future Mac versions of Internet Explorer, an announcement that came on the heels of Microsofts plan to cease developing Explorer as a stand-alone Windows browser.

According to the company, the move acknowledges the Mac primacy of Safari, the homegrown Web browser Apple unveiled at Januarys Macworld Expo/San Francisco. "We will ... continue to support IE 5 and are sharing our compiled understanding of customer requirements with Apples Safari team, who is working to meet Mac users future browser needs," Microsoft said in a statement.

Storage Supersite Editor David Morgenstern contributed to this report.