Microsoft will release Internet Explorer 4.0 for the Macintosh platform the week of January 6 at the MacWorld show, but Mac users won't be getting the same functionality as their Windows-using counterparts.
At Fall Internet World, Microsoft officials have also promised delivery of Explorer 4.0 for the Windows 3.1 platform in the same time frame. Both products had been promised by the end of 1997.
Explorer 4.0 for the Mac will not include the Web integration functionality found in the Windows version of the browser, which was released Sept. 30 and updated with Explorer 4.01 earlier this month. Apple Computer should tackle that issue, which involves the Mac interface, itself, Explorer product manager Dave Fester said.
"We honestly feel Apple needs to add that," Fester said, adding that he was not sure of Apple's plans. Apple officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Work on Explorer for the last major platform, Unix, has proceeded slower than the others. However, Fester said there have been about 10,000 downloads of the first beta of the Unix version of the browser in the past month.
Microsoft plans to issue a second Unix beta in January, and release a final product for Sun Solaris systems in the first quarter, Fester said. After that, Microsoft will release versions for other flavors of Unix, including HP-UX, AIX and Irix.
The Redmond, Washington, software giant used Internet World to brag about momentum for Explorer 4.0, saying recent studies show the browser with 42% overall market share, with 50% share in the international and home markets. Microsoft has tagged Explorer 4.0 as the version that pushes it past Netscape Communications Corp. and its Navigator browser for the top spot in the market.
In addition, installation bugs and other problems that Microsoft addressed with Explorer 4.01, some enterprise users have complained about the browser's Active Channels push technology setup. Fester said corporate customers should use the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) to monitor bandwidth and similar concerns.
"Corporations sometimes look at (the channels) and say 'Wait, I don't want Disney on the desktops,'" he said, adding that more than 10,000 corporations have licensed the IEAK.