Internet Explorer 5.2
1st Jan 2006 | 00:00
Can this long-in-the-tooth app still cut it?
Microsoft's Internet Explorer has been the default browser for most computer users for years, but after version 5.2, the company ceased development on the Mac version. Although it was the default browser for OS X until the advent of Safari, Microsoft simply gave up on it when competition arose.
While it still does a dependable job of rendering almost every website you visit, it lacks both refinement and some of the more up-to-date features that even immature browsers now sport. Tabbed browsing, pop-up advert blocking and theme support are just a few of the things missing from IE; and with both Safari and Firefox crowding out the browser sector, it looks like Mac users will not see another release of Internet Explorer.
The application's age also means it's not up to date with new web technologies, such as RSS or even Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) implementations. The user interface, which looked okay - if a little chunky - on pre-Panther versions of OS X, now looks dated and overblown.
However, don't drag the icon to the Trash just yet. There are some situations where Mac users would be stuck without Internet Explorer. For example, some UK government sites and online banking services will still only function fully with this browser on a Mac.
So until these spaces wake up to the notion of choice, IE 5.2 is handy to have around. And despite its age, it is still a rather fast application, both in terms of launch and rendering speed. It also has quite a good reputation for security, despite the Windows version being known for spreading virtually every virus.
We're sure it's only a matter of time before IE for Mac joins the ranks of unsupported Microsoft applications.