Following its August settlement of a long-standing patent dispute with Eolas, Microsoft is readying a refresh of its Internet Explorer (IE) browser that will remove an interim "Click to Activate" control setting.
Microsoft is planning to make available for download in December to interested customers an optional "preview" test version of IE browser -- called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview. This version will eliminate the "Click to Activate" control that Microsoft instigated in April 2006 in order to alleviate potential infringement on Eolas' patents. Users will be able to get the preview via a standalone download from the Microsoft Download Center. It also will be built into the next "pre-release" versions of Windows Vista Service Pack (SP) 1 and Windows XP SP3, Microsoft officials said, via a posting on November 8 to the IE Team Blog.
Microsoft is planning to deliver to all customers who install the update the final version of the refreshed IE release in April 2008 as part of an IE Cumulative Update.
Microsoft is emphasizing that the refresh "will require no modifications to existing webpages, and no new actions for developers creating new pages."
"We are simply reverting to the old behavior. Once Internet Explorer is updated, all pages that currently require 'click to activate' will no longer require the control to be activated. They’ll just work," explained Senior Product Manager Pete LePage on the IE Team Blog.
When Microsoft initially changed IE's ActiveX control behavior, it warned partners and customers the changes, though relatively minor, potentially could be disruptive.
The IE refresh is not the next major version of Microsoft's browser. Microsoft is continuing work on a new build of Internet Explorer, code-named IE 8.0. Company officials have declined to provide a timetable for when test or final versions of that product will hit.