Microsoft Will Begin Enterprise Internet Explorer Push

Microsoft will push Internet Explorer 8 out to the enterprise in August as part of its Windows Server Update Services. Administrators wishing to control the deployment of the new browser throughout their systems have the option to turn off the so-called update rollup packages in WSUS. IE 8 offers refinements over the previous version of the browser, particularly in the areas of usability, stability and security.

Microsoft plans to push Internet Explorer 8, the newest version of its Web browser, into the enterprise on Aug. 25, as part of its Windows Server Update Services.

Internet Explorer 8 will be installed automatically on supported enterprise computers running Internet Explorer 6 and 7 "if your organization uses WSUS and has it configured to auto-approve Update rollup packages," Eric Hebenstreit, lead program manager for Internet Explorer, wrote in a June 29 post on the IE Blog.

The automatic installation also hinges on the WSUS administrator accepting the Internet Explorer 8 EULA (End User License Agreement). The update will include all languages currently supported by Internet Explorer 8.

In order to control the deployment of the browser throughout an enterprise before Aug. 25, administrators can turn off the "update rollup" packages in WSUS and approve the updates manually. After Aug. 25, administrators will have to synchronize the WSUS server and decline the Internet Explorer 8 update packages. Of course, automatic approval for update rollup can be re-enabled.

WSUS will also become the channel for cumulative security updates for Internet Explorer 8.

Market share for IE 8 has been growing, with the browser occupying about 15.4 percent of the market, according to a recent report by StatCounter. This represents almost a doubling of IE 8's share in May, when the browser possessed about 8.5 percent of the market. That, along with a rise in the number of people using Mozilla Firefox, has meant a decline in share for IE 6 and 7.

IE has continued to dominate the enterprise market, with Microsoft's total share hovering at 78.0 percent at the end of 2008, primarily due to IE 6 and 7. Firefox made slight gains in the latter half of that year, with its enterprise market share increasing from 16.9 to 18.2 percent, outpacing the growth rates for Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

A recent review by eWEEK Labs found that IE 8 had usability, security and stability advantages over IE 7. Certain features such as tab management have been refined, with new elements such as color coding, and a host of new accelerators for accessing advanced functionality. New security elements have been created to block scripting attacks and rogue data execution, and to generally make the browser more secure.