Microsoft announced distribution plans for Internet Explorer 7 on Wednesday, saying it would make the next-generation browser available as a high-priority download via the Automatic Updates feature. However, the company would make available an option to 'opt out' of the update, including an application for enterprise users to block the update across their entire network.
When the new browser is released, those who have Automatic Updates will be greeted with a screen giving them an option to either install, ask later, or opt out of installing IE7 altogether. This would ensure customers are prepared to upgrade, Director of Internet Explorer Product Management Gary Schare told BetaNews.
"We want to be transparent," he said. He explained that if a feature would significant enhance security of Windows, it is automatically delivered without interaction from the user. "If it significantly changes the user experience or feature set, we will always prompt," he added. In this case, IE7 falls into the latter category.
Schare said the company was releasing a small application known as the Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit, which is intended for use in enterprise environments. The feature would allow an IT administrator to block the automatic update of the new browser across the entire network, and would not expire.
Still missing is a definitive date for the release of IE7. Schare declined to say a specific launch date, only offering that the browser would arrive sometime in the fourth quarter of this year. "Vista and IE7 are in a similar timeframe," he said. "However, IE7 is a lot simpler than Vista so it could ship separate from it."
Schare said the two products could potentially ship several months apart.
In any case, the Internet Explorer team does expect to ship one more release candidate before the end of September, but it should not be materially different and only includes bug fixes and minor adjustments. Schare said in terms of the product, IE7 Beta 3 is "feature complete."
The Internet Explorer 7 Blocker Toolkit is available for download from FileForum.