Microsoft is moving full steam ahead with a plan to permanently modify the way Internet Explorer renders multimedia content on Web pages, but in what amounts to an admission that the changes could be disruptive, the software maker plans to give Web developers an extra 60 days to continue making preparations.
The IE update, which results from a multimillion-dollar patent spat with Eolas Technologies, changes the way the browser handles ActiveX controls and could have a significant impact on how online advertising and streaming media content is delivered over the Internet.
The big push now is for developers to recode Web sites and Web applications to cater for the browser update.
If not, users won't be able to directly interact with Microsoft ActiveX controls loaded by the APPLET, EMBED or OBJECT elements without first activating the user interface with an extra mouse click.
Rob Novak blogged about this recently and the way it impacts Quickplace. In talking with him, he's indicated that there are some inconsistencies in the way this change impacts web applications using Active-X and Java Applets. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to impact the Flash advertising that's infected the web. Then again, you won't be blown away by bad music when you inadvertently click through to someone's Geocities homepage with a MP3 object embedded in it.
This is just another example where the courts have erred when it comes to patents and the computer. Just like the recent litigation with RIM, I think it's ridiculous for a patent to be granted for a theoretical idea without the company doing the work to determine how to implement the idea. I am still mad at RIM for giving in and paying the ransom when they would have been "Scot-free" in 6 months when the Patent Office finally invalidated the patents.