Believe it or not, but IE6’s days might be numbered. Microsoft recently announced that starting January, Internet Explorer will be updated to the latest version automatically through Windows updates. IE has been updating through automatic updates for a while, but this always required some additional actions from the user, which sometimes prevented the user from actually updating. The process will now become much more automatic, with the hopeful result of most users gradually moving to IE9 and IE8 (on Windows XP).
So is this finally the end for IE6? Not entirely, but it certainly warrants a web-developer party. While big organizations, and even individual users, will have the ability to opt out of the update, the fact that it’s really automatic will surely bring the updated versions to multiple users who are still using older versions.
The change will roll out in Australia and Brazil in January, and will gradually be expanded to other countries. As usual, user preferences such as the home page and default search provider will not be changed. The update will simply install the latest version available for the user’s OS.
This certainly seems like excellent news, both for users and for Microsoft. While IE9 might be quite a good web browser, its name is constantly marred by older versions of IE which are constantly floating around, refusing to leave the scene. This should make life easier for everyone, including Microsoft itself, who has Google Chrome breathing down its neck.
What do you think? Will this change things for Internet Explorer, or is it too little too late?