Microsoft has advised Mac users of its Internet Explorer browser to switch to rival offerings because it will stop supporting it from the end of the month.

The advice came as the software giant formally announced the end of IE for Apple Macs.

No more security updates will be provided as from the New Year. The browser itself will be removed from Microsoft's Mactopia site and no longer be available for download.

In a statement on the website the company said: “In June 2003, the Microsoft Macintosh Business Unit announced that Internet Explorer for Mac would undergo no further development, and support would cease in 2005.

“In accordance with published support lifecycle policies, Microsoft will end support for Internet Explorer for Mac on December 31st, 2005, and will provide no further security or performance updates.

“Additionally, as of January 31st, 2006, Internet Explorer for the Mac will no longer be available for download from Mactopia. It is recommended that Macintosh users migrate to more recent web browsing technologies such as Apple's Safari”.

The only potential problem for Mac users could be with websites designed to work exclusively with IE.