IE Updates Get a Little Better. Kinda.

For you web devs that consider old versions of Internet Explorer crimes against humanity, some slight help is on the way from Microsoft. Next year Microsoft will start pushing the latest version of Internet Explorer to users who have Automatic Updates enabled through Windows Update.

This helps with the IE support problem illustrated by Paul Irish. Basically Microsoft supports its browsers for 10 years, so if they really get *cough* agile *cough* and release a new IE version every year, in 10 years you’ll have 10 versions of IE to test against. If new versions are pushed out silently ala Google Chrome not only does that problem go away, you get the benefit of users being on the latest IE version. Yay!

O, the caveats:

  • It will only work if users turn on Windows Update.
  • Enterprise customers will be able to block the auto-update mechanism. And all of them will.
  • As new IE versions are tied to OS versions (IE 9 won't run on Windows XP, IE10 won't run on Windows Vista, etc.), you'll still have a lot of IE versions to support. will be a little better down the road on the consumer side. Enterprises will continue to make the bad decision to stay on old IE versions to account for the worse decision they made to create or purchase products tied to non-standard IE crap. And I'll likely still be pushing Chrome Frame on some of my apps.

Still, it’s a good move from Microsoft. I just wish they’d smart bomb the latest IE version on enterprise customers. My view of the enterprises that this would cause headaches for could be summarized as: frack ‘em, they deserve it.