We have received a bunch of questions about the Automatic Updates (AU) distribution process for IE7 and the worldwide rollout over AU. Here are some facts that hope will answer some of those questions.
Prior to starting general AU distribution to IE6 users, IE7 was available via the IE site for several weeks. This brought IE7 to a wider range of users than the beta and enabled us to watch for any issues. The initial rollout went well and we continue to monitor customer feedback through many channels.
We have now slowly started general AU distribution of IE7 in English, and this will continue over the next few months. For localized versions, we plan to follow this same approach of first releasing to the IE site followed by AU distribution several weeks later. A number of already-released European languages are next to start AU distribution and customers using these languages should be ready by November 15th.
Don’t be surprised if you see AU distribute new updates for Windows in November, but don’t see IE7. The rate of delivery and when IE7 reaches you will be based on several factors including the release of other higher priority updates and support call volume. You may have IE7 delivered by AU at any time over the next few months. Of course you can go to the Windows Update website and get it whenever you wish.
Finally, the other big question I am seeing is about the rollout schedule for Japan. Specifically, why isn’t the Japanese market receiving IE7 via AU until this spring? The Japanese market faced unique challenges due to their highly decentralized IT organizations. Our customers and partners in Japan told us this added to the time required to get ready for IE7. We listened to them and decided to hold off AU distribution in Japan until further readiness activities could be completed. Simply put, Japan faced challenges that we did not see in the North American or European markets. In the mean time users in all markets can download IE7 in all the languages we’ve released.
We recently posted Readiness Dates by language on TechNet.
One last thing, I want to reiterate that users will not be forced to accept IE7 nor will we silently install IE7. As we’ve blogged before, users will see a dialog box offering IE7. Users can choose “Install”, “Don’t Install”, or “Ask me later”.
Group Program Manager