Ina Fried at CNET:
Microsoft is changing the way its Web browser handles certain controls in an effort to shield itself from liability in an ongoing patent spat with a start-up backed by the University of California.
The software giant is notifying Web developers and other partners on Friday that it is changing the way Internet Explorer handles certain Web programs, known as ActiveX controls and Java applets.
With the change, Web developers will need to slightly modify their pages or consumers will have to make an extra click to get to some content, such as for a Macromedia Flash-based advertisement.
“We think that the user experience impact is relatively modest,” said Michael Wallent, a general manager in Microsoft’s Windows-client unit.
Microsoft will incorporate the new version of Internet Explorer into all new copies of Windows and also into the next version of the browser, IE 7, which will be available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and as part of Windows Vista. Existing users may also get the new code as part of future security updates, Wallent said.
This pertains to the the Eolas lawsuit which is further described in the article and has been mentioned here previously.
Update (12/5): Tom Krazit at InfoWorld:
Starting in January, Microsoft will distribute new code as part of the regular updates and bug fixes familiar to IE users that will change the way IE works with sites using ActiveX controls, said Jack Evans, a Microsoft spokesman.