Microsoft plans to discontinue support for its Internet Explorer browser on Mac OS X at the end of this year.
The company mothballed the browser, which is currently on version 5.2, in June 2003 after Apple released Safari. Development ever since has been limited to the release of security patches.
As recently as November Microsoft's website touted Internet Explorer as an "award winning" browser that "makes it easy to view and find information on the internet".
That webpage was changed last week and is now informing visitors: "In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates."
Microsoft plans to pull the download from its website on 31 January.
Internet Explorer was once the dominant browser on the Mac platform and was bundled with the OS X operating system as the default. But after Apple released Safari, the vendor has slowly phased out support for the Microsoft browser.
OS X initially shipped with both IE and Safari, the latter being set as the default. Safari become the only browser included with the system when Apple released OS X 10.4 Tiger in April.
The current number of Internet Explorer users on Macs is expected to be minimal. In November Safari had a 2.78 per cent share of the overall browser market, according to data from Net Applications.
The research did not identify users of Internet Explorer for the Mac from the Microsoft browser's overall share.
Net Applications' data showed Apple computers making up 4.11 per cent of the world's internet users in November. Alternative browsers including Firefox, Opera and Netscape are still available for OS X.
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