Microsoft says it is halting development of future Macintosh versions of its Internet Explorer browser, citing competition from Apple Computer’s Safari browser. And God knows Microsoft doesn’t like competition.

“Although Microsoft may continue to provide security and performance updates, no major new releases are planned, Microsoft Product Manager Jessica Sommer told CNET News.com. Sommer said that with the emergence of Apple’s Safari browser, Microsoft felt customers were better served by using Apple’s browser, noting that Microsoft does not have the access to the Macintosh operating system that it would need to compete. ‘No IE 6 is planned,’ Sommer said in a telephone interview. ‘Safari is turning into a better answer for…customers,'” CNET reports.

“On the Windows side, Microsoft has said that it will stop development of standalone versions of Internet Explorer, instead evolving the browser as part of future updates to the Windows OS. Apple has released several beta versions of Safari but the final 1.0 version of the browser has not yet appeared,” reports Ian Fied for CNET News.com. “Microsoft plans to keep the existing versions of IE available on its Mac Web site. The company is releasing a minor upgrade– IE version 5.2.3–to the OS X browser on Monday, and a minor update to the Mac OS 9 version of the browser will also come within the next month, but it is unclear how many releases will follow. ‘It depends as things come up,’ Sommer said.”

“The company had agreed to provide Mac versions of the browser–as well as its Office suite–as part of a five-year deal with Apple that has now lapsed. Microsoft said in April 2002 that it would continue to develop Mac software but would only commit one version at a time, and would make its decisions based on whether such products make business sense. However, Sommer said that the company is moving ahead with the next version of Office,” Fried reports.

“‘We are absolutely still on track with Office,’ Sommer said. ‘We’re working on the next version of Office. We are working on the next version of Virtual PC for the Mac.’ Sommer would not say, however, when those programs would arrive. Microsoft acquired Virtual PC–which lets Windows programs run on the Mac–and other assets of Connectix in February. An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment,” Fried reports. Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: So now the 3.6% of Mac users still using IE with Mac OS X to visit MacDailyNews will have to make plans to wake up or continue using IE until it rots. Who cares? NeXT up? iOffice from Apple we hope, we hope, we hope…

“Do not buy Microsoft software because they do not care about you in the least. Ask any Mac owner who was stuck for years with the default Internet Explorer for the Mac slowly rendering quarter, half, or three-quarter, but rarely full pages. Hey, who cares? Mac users can wait. And just jiggle the resize tab on the browser’s bottom right corner if you want to see the whole page,” wrote SteveJack, May 16, 2003. Full article, “Mac users should not buy Microsoft software,” here.