The WaSP is reporting that Microsoft will end support and cease distributing Internet Explorer for the Macintosh at the end of January. It’s been about eight months since the latest version of Mac OS X shipped without IE, and almost three years since Apple launched Safari.
While there is an “end of an era” feeling to this, it’s kind of like losing the last veteran of World War I. It’s of more historical significance than anything else. When Microsoft released IE5/Mac, it was hailed as the most standards-compliant web browser available. But Microsoft abandoned it years ago.
Fortunately, not only is Safari a worthy successor, but there are other options as well. What’s great about the web browser field these days is that the major players are constantly improving their offerings and working toward greater compatibility. And soon any website that wants to cater to Mac users will no longer be able to fall back on “Just use IE!” They’ll have to test in Safari, and of course the easiest way to build a website that works in IE/Win, Safari, and Firefox (the two defaults and the major alternative) is to start with standards-based code in the first place—which improves compatibility with even more browsers. Users get more choices, and websites get more users. Everyone wins.