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PNG image files support full fledged alpha channels and transparency. Unlike a GIF, which has a 1-bit transparency mask (not technically, but in practice it acts like it), PNG looks darned good in any medium, especially the web. Sadly though, Microsoft has not decided to let people enjoy this fabulous technology, so it will flounder and fizzle at the edges of the technological boundaries, while GIF remains steadfast, fighting people off with it’s royalty fees from the annoyingly over-patented trench it has dug.

Sadly though, Microsoft has not decided to let people enjoy this fabulous technology

In what context? I regularly use PNG images (when quality is a must) when dealing with “Windows using” clients. As a mater a fact, I just finished a web component (ASP.NET) for such a client that emits PNG formated images. No problems here.

Internet Explorer 6 doesn’t support PNGs unless they’re completely transparent or completely opaque. —- Hmm, Just did a quick test. Interesting that IE for Windows doesn’t handle the transparency correctly, especially since the final version of IE (5.2.3) for Mac does. Oh well, that’s too bad, but I don’t use MSIE for Windows anyways. Yet another IE bug won’t stop me from using PNG images with transparency. Looks like an issue MS needs to address. —- The problem is that Microsoft has known about the bug with transparency not working for over a year and hasn’t fixed it. Seems like they don’t like PNG too much. —- Well, I guess it’s just another small nail in their coffin until they do.

Or in PNG’s coffin. MSIE does have a 95% market share, remember.

The amount of conformance of a leading Web browser will not make nor break a graphics file format. A web browsers conformance represents only one aspect in the grand scheme of things. Will this prompt graphic designers, developers, or the makers of major graphics packages (e.g. Photoshop) to drop support or stop using the PNG? I don’t think so. In time, I expect you will see IE properly supporting PNG transparency. Especially with the patent/copyright FUD surrounding GIF, and more recently JPG.