The Conclusion to Microsoft's ActiveX Dispute

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft's blog site dedicated to Internet Explorer (IE) indicates that the company is planning to ditch the 'Click to Activate' control setting on future versions of IE. This concludes a long standing patent dispute between Microsoft Corporation and Eolas Technologies Inc, which has caused a lot of disruption for website developers over the past 4 years. (Source:

An undisclosed licensing agreement will allow Microsoft to remove a go-around measure it implemented in IE 7.0 which prompted users to select the 'Click to Activate' function rather than automatically loading up ActiveX functions, affecting a number of popular programs that were previously embedded onto websites.

Pete LePage, the Senior Product Manager of the Internet Explorer development team announced that beginning in December the company will make available a voluntary test version of the IE Browser -- called the Internet Explorer Automatic Component Activation Preview. Microsoft will also provide this update in its pre-release versions of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows XP SP3. A final version of the refreshed IE will be made available to all customers in April 2008; the protracted implementation of this update is due to Microsoft's desire to minimize potential disruptions to its customers. (Source:

The new licensing agreement is the result of outstanding negotiations between the two companies and will likely result in Eolas receiving payment from Microsoft, on top of the $521 million judgment awarded in 2003, to use its patented technology in future versions of its web browsers. The Internet Explorer development team does not anticipate any major issues arising due to these upgrades, instead classifying it as, "simply reverting to the old behavior." (Source:

Ultimately the customers come out on top since these changes should result in a more seamless web browsing experience. The refreshed IE is not itself a new version of Microsoft's internet browser. The company is still developing IE 8.0 though no concrete time frame has been divulged, with the final release date still a mystery.

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