Microsoft to make IE (Slightly) Easier to Use


Microsoft is set to eliminate those annoying "click to activate" buttons you see when you visit some web sites using Internet Explorer.

According to the software giant's IEBlog, the change to the browser will start to surface next month.

"Back in April 2006, we made a change to how Internet Explorer handled embedded controls used on some webpages," Microsoft writes. "Some sites required users to 'click to activate' before they could interact with the control. Microsoft has now licensed the technologies from Eolas, removing the 'click to activate' requirement in Internet Explorer. Because of this, we're removing the 'click to activate' behavior from Internet Explorer!"

Microsoft has been losing browser market share to Firefox for much of the past two years, as Mozilla and the development community have added a steady stream of new plug-ins and features. Also, Firefox deployed tabbed browsing much earlier than Microsoft did with IE, and was considered by many just easier to use. Microsoft's announcement seems to indicate it might just want to change that.

The IE update will hit the market in sort of a rolling deployment. According to IEBlog: "The first chance will be with an optional preview release, called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview, available in December 2007 via the Microsoft Download Center. Additionally this change will be made part of the next pre-release versions of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3. After giving people enough time to prepare for this change, we'll roll this behavior into the IE Cumulative Update in April 2008, and all customers who install the update will get the change."

Says Sean Lindersay, a Microsoft program manager lead for IE: "I'm not going to comment on the underlying issues that led to IE being forced to make this change in the first place, but I'm glad that it's over. I've been using pre-release versions of Vista SP1, and was thrilled to see this change make it into the builds a few weeks ago.