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MS posts IE 4 for the Mac

Microsoft kicks off its Macworld splash by posting Internet Explorer 4.0 for the Macintosh.

SAN FRANCISCO--Microsoft (MSFT) began its Macworld splash today by posting Internet Explorer 4.0 for the Macintosh.

IE 4 for Mac, which has been available as beta software for more than five months, Special coverage: All the Mac's a stage was posted to the company's Web site today.

IE 4 for the Mac includes some of the features of its Windows counterpart, such as the ability to receive push channels, but it does not have the Windows-specific Active Desktop, which turns the user's desktop into HTML-ready wallpaper.

Microsoft is in the midst of a legal battle with the Justice Department, which alleges that Redmond's browser strategy violates antitrust law, a charge that Microsoft denies. The lawsuit pertains only to the Windows version of IE, but the company's critics say that the existence of a Macintosh version underscores the DOJ's contention that IE is a separate product and not a part of Windows. Microsoft contends that IE for Macintosh shouldn't be considered in the same light as IE for Windows.

Apple Computer got a financial boost last summer when Microsoft chief executive Bill Gates announced a $150 million investment in the computer maker and a five-year commitment to developing Macintosh software. In exchange, Internet Explorer became the default browser on the Macintosh platform.

IE 4 for Mac includes a mail and news reader client, as well as support for the Java Development Kit 1.1.3, cascading style sheets, and the AutoComplete feature that finishes URLs as users type them in.

While the beta version of IE 4 for Mac required a minimum of 4 MB of memory, a Microsoft press release issued today indicated that the shipping version of the browser requires 5 MB of memory.