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.