Microsoft will begin pushing Internet Explorer (IE) 9 to users in earnest starting at the end of June 2011, using its Windows Update mechanism, officials said this week.
Microsoft released the final version of IE 9 on March 14. Microsoft "turned on" Windows Update for users who had installed the Beta and/or Release Candidate (RC) versions of its latest browser on March 29.
(Microsoft originally communicated via Twitter that IE9 would be pushed broadly via Windows Update on March 21, but later amended its story.)
I asked a Microsoft spokesperson for more details about the coming rollout. Will it be staggered? How many weeks/months will it take? Will the updates be designated as "important" or "critical"? I was told "“We will have more to share on the delivery of IE9 via WU and WSUS (Windows Server Update Services) in the coming months.”
This isn't the first time Microsoft will be pushing a version of Internet Explorer using Windows Update. Microsoft did the same with IE 8. In IE8's case, on Windows XP and Server 2003, the update as marked as high-priority. On Windows Vista and Server 2008 it was designated as "Important." Users were prompted as to whether they wanted to be asked about installing IE 8 later, to install it immediately or to not install it.
As with IE 8, there is an IE 9 blocking tool, which administrators can apply if they haven't yet adequately tested IE 9 and/or if they don't want their users to have access to it.
Microsoft officials said IE 9 was downloaded 2.3 million times in the first 24 hours it was available. As others have noted, Firefox 4 was downloaded 5.5 million times in its first 24 hours. Microsoft's March 29 "Exploring IE" blog post came off a bit defensive about the discrepancies in downloads. (But with click-bait headlines like this, I'd be defensive, too.)
Ryan Gavin, Senior Director, Internet Explorer Business and Marketing, noted in his post about measuring browser adoption:
"As a matter of fact, of the downloads we’ve seen through Sunday, March 27th, over 90% have come from non-IE9 RC and Beta users. And remember, we report completed downloads – not attempted downloads where a user may hit a download button repeatedly but without fully downloading IE9."
I've seen a couple of reports from users (thanks @Randall_Lind) who already downloaded the final version of IE 9 that they're still being prompted by Windows Update to install the final version. I've asked Microsoft why this is happening and will update this post once I get an answer.