Supporting Internet Explorer for Mac

A lot of effort has been exerted lately on providing the same user experience on a web site through all web browsers. Although implementing Internet applications to target requirements of the lowest common denominator would be optimal for greater reach, like other decisions that are made where resources are scarce, the decision to continue investing more resources to strive for an optimal solution should be made after light analysis on its gains. Economists have studied an interesting phenomenon and formulated an economic law: the law of diminishing returns. This law states that the amount of additional benefit decreases with each additional quantity of resource that is applied.

The gains from sacrificing more time and effort into implementing compatibility with Internet Explorer for Mac is worthy of thought. There are several factors to consider. Adding code for compatibility may make the integrity of the system brittle. With each modification of the system, the structure and design of the software code decays. The number of people that use Internet Explorer for Mac should be compared against the total number of people who use a Mac. Then, the number of people who use a Mac relative to the number of people who use a general personal computer should be considered. Analyzing the benefit of implementing compatibility with Internet Explorer for Mac and the risk of breaking the system for all other users in an effort for a compatible solution should make the decision to discontinue support of Internet Explorer for Mac easier.

Insistence on compatibility with Internet Explorer for Mac is misguided. Microsoft, the maker of the Internet Explorer line of software, received a net income of $12 billion and ended support for Internet Explorer for Mac in 2005. Microsoft has the resources to improve compliance of Internet Explorer with Internet standards, but the company decided to discontinue the product line. Modifying a web application that is compatible with the majority of browsers, which includes Internet Explorer for Microsoft Windows, in order to gain compatibility with a single browser that is not supported by anyone is a serious misallocation of valuable resources.

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