Microsoft Courts Mac Developers with Windows 8, Modern.IE Package

Microsoft is pinning its hope on recruiting Mac developers to make their Websites and apps compatible with Internet Explorer by offering a bargain price for a combined package with Windows 8 Pro and Parallels Desktop 8.

Two months after launching its development and testing resource site, dubbed modern.IE, Microsoft floated a quickly sold-out special offer in an attempt to recruit Web developers that live by the "Made on a Mac" credo.

The software giant announced on April 2 that with the help of Swish, an e-commerce platform for inventors and startups, it was offering a Windows QuickStart Kit for Mac Developers that included a full version of Windows 8 Pro and Parallels Desktop 8 at a bargain basement price. What's more, Microsoft wouldn't pocket a cent. Parallels Desktop 8 is a hardware virtualization for Macintosh computers with Intel processors.

The offer was intended to help smooth the way to IE-compliant Websites. The deal would dramatically cut the cost of supporting Microsoft's Web browser for developers and startups that made Mac their computing platform of choice, said Sandeep Singhal, Internet Explorer group program manager, in a company blog post.

"We heard that the most common way you test across browsers is through virtualization of browser and operating system combinations using your favorite virtualization platform, such as Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, or Parallels. However, costs to purchase software and licensing can be difficult if you're that startup looking for your first big breakthrough," wrote Singhal.

For a fraction of the price of Windows 8 Pro, which sells for $199, Mac Web developers could test their applications in a virtualized Windows environment.

"Today we're making it just a little easier with a new combo offer: We'll ship you a copy of Windows 8 and Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac virtualization on a USB stick for a $25 donation to your favorite charity, courtesy of our friends at Swish," revealed Singhal.

However, the deal was short-lived. Within hours, Swish was sold out.

"The Windows Quickstart offer sold out quickly. Given how popular these were, we will look into making other offers available in the near future," informed Singhal.

For those that missed the promotion, modern.IE was updated to include new virtual machines and Web page scanning features. Free virtual machine downloads include IE10 on Windows 7 and IE8 on Windows XP.

Organizations can now scan Web pages from behind a firewall to help troubleshoot internal sites with a local instance of modern.IE. Also new is the Compat Inspector tool for a deeper dive into site issues that may cause IE incompatibilities. Finally, Microsoft rolled out breakpoint detection to help Web developers craft mobile-optimized sites, touch-optimization detection and the ability to check if a site is on the Flash CV block list in the wake of the company's decision to enable Flash support by default for IE 10.

Modern.IE is also going international, announced Singhal. "Modern.IE will be available in 18 languages throughout the next two days, making it a bit easier for site developers around the world," he said. Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Russian and Spanish are among the newly supported languages.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...