Barely a month has passed since Microsoft unleashed the full version of Internet Explorer 8 upon the masses, and already, the company plans a more aggressive rollout through Windows' Automatic Update feature.
In a post on the official IE blog, Microsoft's Eric Hebenstreit reveals that users running beta versions of IE8 were already offered the complete release through Automatic Updates last week. Folks who run Internet Explorer 6 or 7 on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and more recent Windows releases will get the same treatment "on or about the third week of April." The browser will show up as a "high priority" update for Windows XP systems and as "important" for Vista and Windows Server 2008 systems.
This method of distribution won't force users to install Microsoft's latest and greatest browser, but it could definitely raise awareness and boost adoption—something IE8 may need help with. The latest Net Applications figures suggest the browser only captured a 1.83% usage share in March, compared to 46.5% for IE7 and 18.4% for IE6.