Microsoft preps Mac IE 5
by Wendy J. Mattson, MacWEEK.com
(IDG) -- Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday it will release Internet Explorer 5 for Mac by early February, followed by IE 5 and Outlook Express for Mac OS X as soon as Apple ships its new operating system.
"We will release Mac OS X-native versions of IE and OE the day Mac OS X becomes available to customers," said Dick Craddock, product unit manager in Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit.
Microsoft will demonstrate the IE 5 Web browser, which had been expected to ship late last summer, at this week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Craddock said the team's goals in designing IE 5 were to make it fast and reliable; to make it the best Mac browser available; and to make using the Web simpler for novices.
"We wanted to make research and online auctions easier for users and to update the style" of the browser, he said, adding that Apple's strong iMac and iBook sales and its new focus on consumers had an effect on the style of the browser.
IE 5 sports a redesigned look and new features, including customizable tool bars; an Internet Scrapbook; and an Auction Manager. Users can add or choose the redesigned buttons and change colors, such as the five colors of the iMac, to customize the tool bar in IE 5 for Mac.
The media tool bar in IE 5, which supports QuickTime, lets users view rich media in a floating window while the browser continues to run, Craddock said.
The Internet Scrapbook feature lets users grab a snapshot of a Web page, store it in a folder and then view it offline. The Scrapbook, which appears to the left of the browser page, shows folders and files stored there.
The Auction Manager, a new feature in IE 5, allows Mac users to track an unlimited number of bids placed for items being sold online, said Irving Kwong, product manager in the Mac Business Unit.
Other less visible additions to IE 5 include support for at least five Internet standards and a revved-up rendering engine.
"We did a great deal of work under the hood to improve the rendering engine in IE 5, which is 50 percent faster than the previous version," Craddock said. "The feedback we got from users was universal -- they wanted a faster, more reliable browser."
In addition, IE 5 automatically displays Web pages at 96 dpi. Users can change it to display from 30 dpi to hundreds of dots per inch, Kwong said.
IE 5 supports HTML 4.0; Cascading Style Sheets 1.0; and Extensible Markup Language 1.0, among other Internet standards. Support for Apple technologies such as ColorSync, Internet Config, Open Transport and Mac OS Runtime for Java is also included.
Internet Explorer, currently at Version 4.51, and the Outlook Express 5.01 e-mail application are available bundled with the Mac OS and free via download from Microsoft.
In other news, Microsoft also said it will ship Office 9 for the Mac in the second half of this year, with a version of Office for Mac OS X in development. Pricing, availability and other details on forthcoming Mac versions of Office will be announced later, Microsoft said.
In addition, the company's Word 98 Special Edition for the iMac and iBook promotion has been extended through July, with the same $99 price after a rebate.
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