The minority of Mac users still browsing with Internet Explorer need to consider moving to another browser very quickly, as Microsoft plans to discontinue support for IE beginning Dec. 31.
The news, which came in a statement on Friday, may not have come as a complete surprise to Mac users: Microsoft announced back in June 2003 that it was ending Mac support for IE. Microsoft has not upgraded the software in three years, leaving IE 5--rather than version 6, which is available for Windows--as the most recent version available to Mac users.
While IE for Mac will continue to be available for another month after support ends, Microsoft is advising all users to move to "more recent browsing technology such as Apple's Safari."
The lack of support for IE is unlikely to be an issue for Apple users, most of whom already use alternatives. The only potential difficulty could lie with some sites that have been designed to work with IE only.
This affects a minority of sites, but the issue hasn't completely gone away. In June, for example, Web-testing company SciVisum said that one in 10 Web sites in the U.K. failed to work properly with Firefox, the popular open-source browser.
Firefox, Safari and other browsers such as Opera are available for Mac OS X.