Microsoft has today announced that from January 2012, Internet Explorer updates will automatically be downloaded and installed in the background whilst retaining all of your custom settings like addons and search providers.
The new feature will work for those who have automatic updates enabled on their machine and this means for anybody using Windows XP you will be jumped up to version 8, whilst if you are on Vista or Windows 7 you will be pushed to IE9 whether you like it or not. This is definitely a good thing for Microsoft as it means that the death of IE6 just moves that little bit closer.
In the past I have criticised Google and Mozilla for pushing out these updates on the stealth as it means that developers are constantly having to make changes - especially when they both at the moment are doing a new release every eight weeks. In terms of security, this is most definitely a good thing for the Internet as a whole. I myself as of earlier this year completely dropped support for Internet Explorer 6 as it was simply becoming too difficult to maintain.
Ie6countdown.com has the world usage for IE6 pegged at 8.3% as of today, with certain countries faring better than others. For example, the UK has 1.8% and the US has 1.0% - fairly impressive, however China is massively behind here at a massive 27.9%. I can only put this down to counterfeit software but whatever happens, the Internet will go on with and without it.
As a final note to those of you out there still using IE6, please, please, please update!