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Internet Explorer Team removing “Click to Activate”

November 10, 2007

Back in April 2006, the IE team added an measure to ActiveX controls loaded in Internet Explorer after losing their lawsuite to Eolas (another interesting editoral from 2005).  It was subtile, but required you to CLICK the control to activate it.  Many users, not seeing the text informing them what to do, simply thought that they were lagging out and clicking twice, instead of once, fixed it.  The April 2006 update found its way into our SUS updaters and wasn’t caught—driving our Customer Service department absolutely mad for the following weeks.  Good times all around.

So, two years later, it appears the team is backing the change out by finally purchasing licensing from Eolas.  Whether right or wrong in this case (I actually side with Microsoft and the evidence from W3C on this one… but meh), it’s absolutely insane that this took two years of frustrated consumers “clicking to activate” their embeded QuickTime movies, Flash movies on YouTube, and even controls built on web pages.

Timeline?  Looks like the first preview release (e.g. public beta) will be released in December 2007 with another pre-release included in Vista SP1 and XP SP3.  The final patch won’t be until the two year anniversary of the change—April 2008.  How slowly the cogs turn…

The IE Team has posted up the background here: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2007/11/08/ie-automatic-component-activation-changes-to-ie-activex-update.aspx

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