May 12, 2000
1:02 PM   Subscribe

Macintouch is reporting that Microsoft has disbanded the IE for Mac team and is discontinuing development of IE for Mac. So much for a 5 year commitment....
posted by faisal (19 comments total)
But it Makes. No. Sense.

I'm not a Mac user, but I tried out IE 5.0 for the Mac. It's beautiful. It's such a great browser. Why in the name of God would they do something like that?
posted by solistrato at 1:14 PM on May 12, 2000

Could it have something to do with how much the IE/Mac guys embarassed the IE/Windows team by putting out a solid, standards-compliant browser?
posted by harmful at 1:22 PM on May 12, 2000

IE for the Mac was part of Microsoft's investment in the Mac to maintain it as a viable alternative, as a citeable defense again antitrust.

That's failed. The judge doesn't consider the Mac to be a viable alternative, and as such Microsoft no longer has any use for the Macintosh.

The money spent on IE was never reimbursed directly; its purpose was always to help keep the Mac afloat.

Why does Microsoft need Apple any more? Why bother investing and losing money in supporting Apple? If Apple had helped in the antitrust case, Microsoft probably would have continued the investment. But it didn't, and there is no longer any other incentive to pour money down that rathole.

posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:43 PM on May 12, 2000

By the way, don't be too surprised if it turns out that Office for the Mac is also discontinued..
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:44 PM on May 12, 2000

Microsoft keeps making such bad decisions. One after another after another. This really makes no sense.

The MS PR person said they're re-focusing on Internet TV. This is probably Microsoft's long-term focus, and will be announced on June 1 along with the announcement saying that their software will move to a services-based distribution. No shrinkwrapped software, just doanload updates.

This decision, if it's tue, can't look good in the eyes of the DOJ.
posted by camworld at 1:45 PM on May 12, 2000

I'm speechless. I am without speech. This can't be true. I'm not a Mac user, but from what I've read, the MS Mac team was doing things right. If this is true, MS is indeed unravelling.

posted by Calebos at 2:00 PM on May 12, 2000

Another reason for IE/Windows to hate IE/Mac: the latter group appear to have implemented cookie security properly.
posted by harmful at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2000

I guess its All Hail GECKO on the mac now. Seriously though, I doubt that this is the situation. I doesn't make sense at all...
posted by neo452 at 2:53 PM on May 12, 2000

This seems most odd indeed.

Apple didn't actively support MS in the antitrust dealings, but neither did it come out against MS.

This is because MS has a fair sized chunk of Apple in it's pocket (as a die hard Mac person, that's a little hard to swallow, but it's true).

Apple has been good and silent about the MS antitrust issue - exactly what Gates & Co. would like. I doubt there are any plans for "retribution".
posted by aladfar at 3:10 PM on May 12, 2000

Actually, if I recall correctly, the "chunk of Apple" in Microsoft's pocket are non-voting shares...
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:55 PM on May 12, 2000

It just goes to show that for Microsoft, innovation equals killing off anything that makes Windows look bad.

I hate Netscape. I absolutely, positively hate it. I can - and do - code for it, but IE is my browser of choice. It has been for nearly two years. But the alternatives - Netscape 6 (bleah) iCab (unfinished demoware) and Opera (an unfinished libretto to say the least) - leave a lot to be desired.

I'm one of those rare Mac users (and with three of them, I can safely say I'm a MacAddict) who actually liked Microsoft programs for the Macintosh. Now I feel like I have few options, as the alternatives that exist leave a lot to be desired. Oh well, there's always MailSmith for mail.
posted by likorish at 4:14 PM on May 12, 2000

I've used every single Mac browser from Mosaic and Netscape 0.9 to Netscape 5.61, iCab 2.0, and MSIE 5. They all have problems. IE5 doesn't comply with HTML 4 and has stopped rendering non-ASCII characters on me. It crashes constantly, in the last two days just when I was getting in the mood to do serious writing. Netscape is slow and huge and massacrees my CSS. iCab... is missing Java.

Wait. iCab is missing Java. That's about all the bad news I can report about it.

iCab is a beautiful piece of work. IE 5 is an excellent program. We will survive without it. (Opera? Quoi?)

What I wonder about, though, is if this dropping-Mac-IE thing will get any press at all, since the business pages and the entire computer press are in thrall to Windows and Microsoft. Why isn't CNN interviewing Steve Jobs?
posted by joeclark at 7:28 PM on May 12, 2000

you know, it's quite possible that the Mac IE team is working on WebTV to try to make something useful out of that misbegotten platform. like bring CSS-1 and HTML4 compliance to it. and decent usability. and maybe even javascript support.

if they're doing that, it doesn't necessarily mean microsoft will no longer support the mac. it might simply mean, microsoft is putting their best browser development group to work on the webTV platform they've bought, so webTV will stop being garbage.

companies put good teams on new projects all the time.

i'm not going to assume the worst until i have some facts.
posted by Zeldman at 8:04 PM on May 12, 2000

The five-year commitment was for the same number of Office upgrades on Windows as there was on the Mac... I don't recall seeing anything about Internet Explorer's development except that it would be the default Web browser.

It's probably not as suprising to see the Mac IE team working on WebTV related projects as they are all located on the same campus in Mountain View.
posted by tomalak at 8:06 PM on May 12, 2000

The original Macintouch story is at It's pretty vague.

I seem to recall KNOWING that the IE5/Mac guys were going to work on WebTV as soon as they finished IE5/Mac. No one at that time cast it in a negative light. It was more like, "Next assignment coming right up. No rest for the weary."

They had a sort of battle fatigue attitude about all the work they were going to have to do (having already done a hell of a lot of work). Nobody said, "And of course, we're doing all this work because we're about to abandon the Macintosh platform." There wasn't even a hint of anything like that.

Things change of course, but I wonder if someone, seeing a bunch of Mac/IE folks get shifted over to WebTV, didn't simply jump to the wrong conclusion.

posted by Zeldman at 9:20 PM on May 12, 2000

imho, this is completely illogical. If microsoft controls the browser, then it can control how you see content. Of course, this only hurts it in the eyes of the DOJ. Personally, once AOL bought netscape, that browser died a slow death that it's still dying. And the ULTIMATE shock of seeing "NETSCAPE 6" made me want to puke. Version numbering is now completely a marketing ploy? Please. I'm a mac user. I've been one since 1987. I actually can say that I use and LIKE microsoft products. And I plan to continue to use them.

Microsoft COULD change the world if they wanted. Let's just hope they get some idealism in there (yeah yeah, I know, Dream on bobo roshi).
posted by eljuanbobo at 9:23 PM on May 12, 2000

There was a Netscape 5. It just never saw the light of day, and became the nucleus of the Mozilla project.

Version numbering as a marketing ploy is as old as the hills. Where were you during the 1980s?
posted by dhartung at 12:59 AM on May 13, 2000

I find it odd that people are saying that microsoft is making a big mistake. Ironically, they have made such good business decisions in the past that they are now potentially going to be broken up because of their success.

The idea of marketing an OS independent of computer hardware sounded idiotic to IBM, but it has made MS billions. I'm sure they are not making a shortsighted or unsound decision in discontinuing IE for Mac.
posted by ktheory at 12:56 PM on May 13, 2000

Wow, I'm surprised no one has found this other article which was posted at MacCentral on Thursday.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to MacCentral this afternoon that the development team for Internet Explorer 5 has not been disbanded. Rumors circulated earlier today that Microsoft had broken up the team and there was uncertainty about future development of Internet Explorer for the Mac.

posted by daveadams at 5:59 PM on May 13, 2000

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