Microsoft plans to use its Automatic Updates patch-distribution service to push its stand-alone Internet Explorer 7.0 browser to customers once the product is ready to ship in the fourth quarter of this year.
But just as it did with a couple of service packs—most notably Windows XP Service Pack 2—Microsoft will provide corporations with a way to block IE 7.0's distribution so they can control when and if the product is distributed to their users. And unlike the case with previous "blocker tools," the one for IE 7.0 will not bake in a preset download deadline. As a result, corporations can set IE 7.0 to download on any date in the future they choose, Microsoft officials said.
Because of the myriad security fixes incorporated into the product, Microsoft plans to designate IE 7.0 as a "high priority" update, officials said. But users and administrators will be prompted to opt in and accept the IE 7.0 download; it won't happen automatically without notification, Microsoft officials stressed. Users who have opted to hide access to IE won't be presented with the download option at all, officials said.