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Quality control delays Mac version of IE5

Microsoft says its Internet Explorer 5.0 browser for Macintosh users will be pushed back from a fall to a winter release.

Macintosh users are facing a second delay in the launch of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 5.0 browser.

Microsoft today confirmed a report that IE5 for the Mac will be pushed back from a fall to a winter release. The delay follows another, acknowledged in July, that moved back the release from summer to fall. The more recent delay was first reported by Macweek.

"We're doing a number of things that are taking some time, and we don't want to ship before they're ready," said Irving Kwong, product manager at Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit. "It's all in the interest of providing a really high-quality product but really cool stuff."

To explain the delay, Kwong cited ongoing work on the browser's rendering engine, core software that interprets Web page code and displays it on a user's screen.

In addition, Kwong said Microsoft is developing a number of Mac-specific features, including an auction-watching feature that was first previewed in July at the Macworld trade show in New York. The feature will keep track of auctions, letting users know when they are outbid, when auctions close, and whether users have paid for or received items.

Another Mac-specific feature will increase the size of small fonts that typically are less legible on Macintosh computers. Macintosh screens display content at 72 dots per inch (dpi), while Windows-based machines display content at 96 dpi. The higher the dpi, the more legible smaller images become.

Microsoft does not plan to offer a beta version of the browser software, Kwong said. He also said that Microsoft's Outlook Express email management program will ship on time in the fall, separate from the browser. The two applications have shipped in tandem in the past.

"We found that Mac customers didn't associate browsing with email," Kwong said.