Microsoft is investigating whether it can use the same IE add-on mechanism that third-party developers are deploying, so as to issue out-of-band browser updates.
When asked whether Microsoft will release an updated version of its IE (Internet Explorer) browser before Longhorn ships in 2006, Microsoft's pat answer is that it has no current plans to do so. IE is part of Windows, and that's that, according to the Microsoft party line. But if you ask a slightly different question–whether Microsoft intends to add new features and functionality to IE without releasing a whole new standalone version–you'll get a different answer.
"We are looking at whether we can use the add-on mechanism [used by third-party software developers] to roll out new IE features" before Longhorn, said Gary Schare, director of product management with Microsoft's Windows client unit. Schare did not volunteer any information on what kinds of enhancements or add-ons Microsoft might be considering. But IE users have been vocal in their demands for features such as tabbed browsing, built-in RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reading capabilities and support for the most recent cascading style sheet standards.
News source: Microsoft Watch