Twitter is abuzz with excitement over this news because it will mean a sharp decline in the use of older versions of the browser. However, I would advise against getting too excited. Things aren’t going to change overnight.
There are several caveats to the announcement:
- The auto-update is going to be rolled out gradually across the world starting with Australia and Brazil.
- Those who don’t have auto-update enabled will not receive the newer browser (does anybody know if this is enabled by default or not? Let us know in the comments.)
- XP users will only be upgraded to IE8, which I have a feeling long term will make IE8 the new IE6.
- Corporations will be able to control when the update happens or even prevent it entirely.
I think the biggest problem here is that Internet Explorer is so deeply integrated with the operating system. Even if users want to update their browser, some will be prevented by doing so by the operating system they are running. This will be particularly problematic within corporations who are historically slow to update their OS.
Nevertheless this is a positive step forward and Microsoft are to be congratulated.