Microsoft to push IE8 as an automatic update

Microsoft has announced it plans to offer IE8 via Windows Update.

In a move that will likely anger rivals such as Apple and Google, Microsoft will be pushing Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Update. Google raised concerns back in 2006 when IE7 was originally released via Windows Update. Apple received negative press last year when it tried to push Safari to iTunes users. Many users never had Safari installed but it was listed under Apple's software update program for install.

The IE8 update will be released as the highest priority update for each operating system. For Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, it will be listed as Important. For Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, the update will be listed as High Priority. Delivery of IE8 via AU will begin after Microsoft make IE8 available from the Microsoft Download Center. Of course, users can always decline to install IE8 through AU when it is offered.

Microsoft has also provided a blocking tool for enterprises to block the forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 release.

It's not yet clear exactly when Microsoft will release Internet Explorer 8 but Microsoft officials may have more to say at this years CES.

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I'm an ASP.NET Web Developer. I've used IE 8 in Windows 7 beta, and in XP. I enjoyed the accelerators, and the the new look for the Search Providers.

However; I did have some problems:

    Flash: I experienced problems with some sites that use highly interactive Flash (like GoDaddy's FTP Client).
    CSS: I tried testing some of our sites in IE 8 and found some differences with CSS which I was able to compensate for.
    AJAX: CollapsiblePanel does not work properly with the ExpandDirection set to "Horizontal"
    ASP.NET: DropDownList control triggered the Popup blocker. (That's the last straw, .NET is Microsoft, IE is Microsoft, why do they make their own products incompatible?)


Long story short, I uninstalled and went back to IE 7 for XP Pro. when i couldn't tell if I had a code problem or if it was IE8 disfunctionality.

I say, if you are adventurous, try it (you can uninstall to go back to ie7). Otherwise, if it aint broke don't fix it, waiting as long as possible before "Upgrading" (which it is not an upgrade, it was a complete gut and re-write. Firefox upgrades, IE re-creates).

P.S. For those using IE7 or IE8, check out http://www.ie7pro.com/ it has features like Mouse Gesture, Spell Check, URL alias, just to name a few.

The objection from others is that Microsoft have a monopoly, which is in no ones best interests, least of all the consumer, unless that consumer is a consumer of Microsoft shares. People new to computers don't know there are alternative browsers and, besides, they would feel nervous about installing one. Microsoft have every right to offer IE8 as an update but they should be compelled to offer links to alternative browers and, in return, the homepage of alternative browsers should link through to IE8 as an alternative to their own offerings. Lack of competition leads to lack of development, lack of choice - and more paid for services.

I don't see anything wrong with this, theres no reason why a user should not receieve it as an update, since IE is a part of MS Windows. If it was shoving a third party download via its update, that would be a concern. Its a hue and cry by its competitors fearing their target customers will find IE8 better than what they're providing.

Have you not been attacked by the SliverLight monster yet? Not saying that it is not good software, but Microsoft has been literally craming it down users throats. In addition to being on Windows Update, you are also prompted to install on every Microsoft (and affiliate) website. Resistance is futile.

bradsday said,
Have you not been attacked by the SliverLight monster yet? Not saying that it is not good software, but Microsoft has been literally craming it down users throats. In addition to being on Windows Update, you are also prompted to install on every Microsoft (and affiliate) website. Resistance is futile.

Not really, it is available as an optional update, it is my choice to install it or ignore and I choose to ignore it I have been prompted before to install it on various MS websites, but never did so. What is its main purpose?

Thank you Microsoft. This will definately help us web developers and in the end help the end user (once ie6 is out of the loop, creating cross-platform sites, etc, will be much easier...)

Further, given that IE 8 is rightly structured as a security update (given known security issues with IE 7, that actually makes sense), why shouldn't this be done? By the by, this setting *only* affects those that schedule important security updates to download and install automatically (it does not affect the options for a particular security update; it certainly didn't for IE 7, which is an optional security update as part of Windows XP's Service Pack 2).

Mountains out of molehills.

I don't see what's the big fuss about this. The reason why Apple was blown out of the water for doing this was because it pushed Safari to iTunes users, not only to Safari users. Pushing IE8 to every computer which has IE7 installed is definitely a good thing.

IE8 being on AU is definitely a good thing as far as I'm concerned, because I don't want to have to bother to upgrade to manually when it is released to keep up with the security benefits when I only use IE occasionally.

I'm impartial. I use IE7 and IE8 depending, although my work still forces us to use IE6. Upgrades are inevitable eventually and I look forward to improvements being implemented. I use FF for 95% of my browsing, but will use IE if necessary - mostly for work intranet sites since I don't like having to configure FF for a proxy while there.

It's not even final yet, so why is everyone so frantic about it? I don't expect it to be released until March 2009, or possibly later....

I haven't tried the betas, but I am 100% sure it is better than IE6, and quite a leap over IE7. I stopped using IE due to IE7's release and just how horrible it was. Now that Firefox is moving in a direction that I really don't like, I will probably switch back to IE8 when it is release.

So I welcome it via AU, as I really don't pay to much attention when this or that is released...

Comparing Apple trying to get people to install Safari when they never had it, and updating something you already do have to the latest version, is not a valid comparison in any respect.

Given the fact that IE8 is much better than IE6 or IE7, it wouldn't hurt sending it via automatic update! I think what Microsoft is trying to do here is to install IE8 on those machines which still run IE6 as their primary browser. Microsoft wants to get rid of IE6 and put IE8 there.

This is tabloid journalism.

"In a move that will likely anger rivals such as Apple and Google..."

There's no source for this supposition except the fact that Google were angry when Microsoft released IE7 - which wasn't because of a lack of choice over browsers, but because IE7 shipped with MSN Live Search as default. I believe that, when installed, IE8 continues to use the search engine set as default by the user in IE7 so this shouldn't anger Google.

As for why this would anger Apple I have no idea...

Updates are supposed to be offered for products that users have installed on their systems. IE is one of these products, so it's fine in my opinion.
On the contrary, it was not OK for Apple to pushed Safari through Apple Update, when I only had iTunes installed.

As the rendering engine is a system component, with obvious security implications in leaving the old version around, I don't see the problem.

If Apple pushed a webkit or Safari upgrade for OSX, I don't think anyone would care either.

Why would Apple be angry? Its not like they don't bundle Safari with their operating system and mobile devices (iPhone and iPod Touch). For that matter, they even tried to bundle it with other automatic software updates, but fortunately rescinded after public outcry. Google on the otherhand has no such vehicle, but has more than enough partnerships to push their software. You can hardly install any third-party application these days without getting a bundled version of Google Toolbar or Google Desktop Search. It is only a matter of time before we start seeing Chrome bundled as well. Think that all sides can agree on the fact that there is a new browser war brewing, and as always, will take saavy tactics in order for their products to gain market shares.

Don't want it and will not get it. Not becuase I hate MS though, simply have hated IE since version 7. Dang thing is to dumb to remember usernames at sites I WANT it to and no way to change that. Or is there and I haven't come acrossed it? Yeah, it does remember those until you restart your computer(s). Which I shut off every night.

Unfortunately,
Last time I reinstalled Windows, I installed version with SP3 slipstreamed, so automatically had IE7. Luckily, on wifes computer, I went with a disc that only had SP2 slipstreamed. It DOES NOT and WILL NOT have IE7.

Of course,
Neither my wife, kid, or myself use IE much anyway!! Again, not because I hate MS though!!

cork1958 said,
Don't want it and will not get it. Not becuase I hate MS though, simply have hated IE since version 7. Dang thing is to dumb to remember usernames at sites I WANT it to and no way to change that. Or is there and I haven't come acrossed it? Yeah, it does remember those until you restart your computer(s). Which I shut off every night.

LOL - U can change this settings...

cork1958 said,
Last time I reinstalled Windows, I installed version with SP3 slipstreamed, so automatically had IE7. Luckily, on wifes computer, I went with a disc that only had SP2 slipstreamed. It DOES NOT and WILL NOT have IE7.

Even bigger LOL - IE7 is not included in SP3...

And everybody should remember that it is their business to have as
recent version of IE on their Windows as possible, simply because
even if u use other browser, IE rendering component (mshtml)
is used by many apps... So, for example, with exploited version
of IE, your GoogleTalk, WMP, Valve Steam client, LimeWire is exploited also...

Try to delete mshtml.dll (Trident layout engine file) from ur system32
directory and see how many apps will refuse to work...

I don't like IE7 either. Not sure about 8, but I know it probably won't be used anymore than 7 is for me. I just like to keep it installed and UPDATED for whenever I come across those dumb sites designed around it. Sometimes my online courses required the use of IE as it came with a plugin to allow me to take my tests with their software. (MathLab or something like that)

Anyhow, if you have IE, you should generally keep it up to date for security reasons.

Why should it "anger" others?

The complaints have been about bundles to marginalize competition, not Microsoft upgrading their own software. :p

I didn't see much of Google, Apple, or Mozilla complaining about Microsoft upgrading IE 6 to IE 7...

creamhackered said,
Pushing the update out as high priority over Windows Update is questionable though.

It should be high priority if it is more secure.
Anyway, Apple push Safari in a similar way.

creamhackered said,
Pushing the update out as high priority over Windows Update is questionable though.

But it does have security benefits that effect all parts of windows tbh.
I just like the idea of being able to use WSUS to deploy it simply.

creamhackered said,
Pushing the update out as high priority over Windows Update is questionable though.


Howso?

The rendering engine is a system component used by a large number of applications, and it has obvious security benefits in being pushed like this.

What the story here again? Doesn't FF and Safari(who invades via ****unes) also do automatic upgrades especially to newer MORE SECURE versions? I swear echo chamber of Anti MS FUD never ceases to amaze me.

This is yet another non-article with no citations or links to any possible source/announcement etc. The rest of it (regarding Apple and Google MIGHT be upset) is just op-ed drivel.

Come on Neowin. Don't you have ANY editorial policy at all?!

Can you not read? Read the link (linked as released) under Microsoft has also provided a blocking tool for enterprises to block the forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 release.

True, and I wasn't debating that. I probably should have replied to your next comment down.

I just see this as "non-news" because it's literally the exact same process as with IE7 2 years ago.

I could have made this a bit more clear. While you did provide a link to a bit of sub-information, there was no link or citation for the source of the entire article for which this post is titled. That was my point.

Thank you for adding it now in the first line. :)

I've addressed the rest of your comments in response to your private email.

Are you guys talking about the same Apple who uses their app updater to push totally new, yet to be installed software?

nichtgesicht said,
I look forward to IE8 for a simple reason : better control of Active X, especially for non-local admins.


Absolutely! I only have Flash restricted so that it only works on youtube.com.

IMO this is a good thing, nothing to complain. I don't use IE and even if my computer automatically updated, why would that make me change?

i'm using IE8 more frequently than Firefox at general websites.
maybe i'm the odd one out.

but i still use Firefox for pron..... :P

If only IE would automatically update itself, remove all traces of IE6 from existence, then we can all use Alpha-PNGs happily. ^_^

You can use PNG and IE6 right now - there's tons of PNG fixes available. The caveat is that the img needs to be larger than 16x16 and repeated bg imgs don't work.

Search for "PNG Fix" and you'll find tons of examples and plugins.

axebox said,
You can use PNG and IE6 right now - there's tons of PNG fixes available. The caveat is that the img needs to be larger than 16x16 and repeated bg imgs don't work.

Search for "PNG Fix" and you'll find tons of examples and plugins.

Try using one of those PNG fixes with MSIE 6 on a workstation with no admin access.

They don't replace IE6 cuz lots of businesses still use home made apps that run with/use IE6 for work? At least that's the excuse, but I figure it's about time they upgrade those or make newer ones and use IE7 or IE8 now.

I don't see the problem. First and foremost, security and standards matter here. It's a must. I'm sure PCs with IE6 cause headaches for users and companies stuck with it.

As long as it doesn't make the browser default without asking, no problem whatsoever.

In a move that will likely anger rivals such as Apple and Google...

They've got nothing (new) to complain about with this. IE is already installed on each and every one of the machines that will be affected by this IE8 automatic update. IE8 should be classified as a security update to the version of IE on that machine.

Not only that... but apple and now google especially are notorious for shoving "updates"

Google shoving their "update" service every way they can.

What's the problem?

The other browsers can be made to automatically update themselves (obviously not via Windows Update).
The only concern would be if IE8 made itself the default browser without asking the user.

The problem is for looney web developers that code websites for certain browsers as opposed to standards. Lots of websites coded for IE6 didn't work in IE7. There's the assumption that websites coded for IE7 aren't going to work in IE8, etc.

Of course is web developers had a brain they'd code for a standard and at least QA on all browsers. But that would be the smart thing to do.

They should include an upgrade utility with IE, and allow a user to integrate this into Windows/Microsoft Update.

The things people complain about these days... you can always press no, don't install IE 8!

Vista and Win7 by extension have their own upgrade utility/app, that connects to windows/microsoft update already. It doesn't go through IE anymore, so in the end, if you don't have it set to download and install everything automatically you can just hit "no" like you suggested.

madkingsoup said,
So was IE7, for a while at least.

yeah, with an xp install, IE7 is definitely available through windows update