Even though the first Beta of Internet Explorer 8
was made available on March 5, 2008, the final version of the next iteration of IE is by no means anywhere on the horizon. In this context, Microsoft's focus is still set on Internet Explorer 7, as the company has revealed that it has failed to commit to a release date for IE8 gold as of yet. The only indications that Microsoft let slip through its fingers
are related to the second Beta for IE8, planned for the summer of this year, and that the build will be end user centric, while the first mainly addressed developers. But until IE8 Beta 2, Microsoft has finished maturing Internet Explorer 7.
In this context, the "click to activate" behavior has now been completely removed from Internet Explorer 7. The behavior was introduced due to the legal problems Microsoft had with Eolas over the handling of embedded controls in the browser. Users essentially had to "click to activate" before they could interact with embedded controls. Since December 2007, Microsoft has offered a number of Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Previews that introduced the evolved behavior after the company had licensed the necessary technologies from Eolas.
At that time, Pete LePage, IE Senior Product Manager, promised that Microsoft would be dealt with the evolution of IE7 by the end of April 2008, and the company lived up to this promise. The removal of the "click to activate" behavior is included by default in both Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP SP3, even though XP SP3 does not contain IE7.
"The IE Automatic Component Activation (IE ACA) update is now available as part of the April 2008 Internet Explorer Cumulative Update. The 'click to activate' behavior, formerly required for ActiveX controls embedded in some webpages, is now permanently removed from Internet Explorer. This update replaces the IE ACA previews released in December 2007 and February 2008," explained Jefferson Fletcher
, IE Product Manager.
The Microsoft Security Bulletin MS08-024
labeled with a severity rating of Critical is designed to patch a single vulnerability across a few IE versions including IE7 running on Windows Vista Service Pack 1.
"This update addresses 1 remote code execution vulnerability. This security update addresses this vulnerability by modifying the way Internet Explorer handles HTML and validates data. This update is rated 'Critical' for IE5.01, IE6 Service Pack 1 on Windows 2000, IE6 on Windows XP, IE7 on Windows XPSP2 and IE7 in Windows Vista, IE6 on Windows Server 2003, and IE7 on Windows Server 2003," explained Terry McCoy
, Program Manager Internet Explorer Security.
Internet Explorer 7 FINAL 7.0.5730.13 is available for download here
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 1 is available for download here