IE gains Firefox RSS icon, loses Mac version

Microsoft plans to use the Firefox browser's RSS (Really Simple Syndication) icon in the next version of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser, according to the company's Internet Explorer team blog.

In a posting on Microsoft's IEBlog, Jane Kim, a Microsoft program manager for RSS in IE, said that Microsoft has decided to use in IE 7 an orange icon that the Firefox browser uses to identify RSS feeds. IE 7 will be available next year.

"We all agreed that it’s in the user’s best interest to have one common icon to represent RSS and RSS-related features in a browser," Kim wrote in the posting, which briefly describes a trip members of the IE team took to Silicon Valley to meet with members of the Mozilla browser team.

"This isn’t the first time that we’ve worked with the Mozilla team to exchange ideas and encourage consistency between browsers, and we’re sure it won’t be the last," she added in the post.

Microsoft will use the icon in the IE 7 command bar whenever a page has a feed associated with it, and also in other places in the browser whenever there is need for a visual to represent RSS and feeds, according to Kim.

An image of the icon can be found here.

Microsoft plans to release another build of IE 7 in early 2006, and the new icon will be available in that release, according to Kim's post.

How Microsoft would identify RSS feeds in the next version of IE has been the topic of much heated debate by Microsoft watchers, who accused the vendor of trying to co-opt the technology when it called RSS feeds "Web feeds" in the first IE 7 beta, which was released in July.

RSS has become a widely used Web standard for adding content syndication to Web sites, and is often identified by an orange "RSS" icon in a browser.

In the little over a year since its launch, the open-source Firefox browser has become a popular alternative to IE. Mozilla recently released an update of the browser, Firefox 1.5.

Microsoft has also officially killed Internet Explorer for Mac.

The company will end support for the application on December 31, making no additional security or performance updates available for the software.

And on January 31, 2006, Internet Explorer will no longer be available for download from Microsoft.

"On June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005," the company says on its Web site.

The company recommends Mac users migrate to "more recent Web browsing technologies", such as Safari.

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