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IE Patch to affect ActiveX (incl Flash launching)?

Is Microsoft about to release a patch to sidestep an Eolas patent?

11:30 pm on Feb 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

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We have just recieved an e-mail from DoubleClick (we run quite a few DFA served campaigns) warning that Microsoft is about to release a patch to IE which may cause ActiveX code, including Flash calls, to require user input to initiate.

There was a posting here about this in December, but no responses. Some additional info is linked to below.



Is this something that people out there are preparing for? Any ideas on how it will impact ad serving with different systems and implementations (iframes vs javascript)?

1:43 am on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I got the same email from DoubleClick, and my first thought was "didn't this happen two years ago?" Apparently not. A couple related documents on the Microsoft site have been updated quite recently:

[support.microsoft.com ]

Last Review: February 28, 2006
...Microsoft is releasing a software update to Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 for Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 and for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. This update changes the way in which Internet Explorer handles some Web pages that use ActiveX controls.

[msdn.microsoft.com ]

Updated December 2, 2005
After a forthcoming update, Microsoft Internet Explorer users will not be able to directly interact with Microsoft ActiveX controls...
3:09 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft on Tuesday made broadly available an Internet Explorer update related to a high-profile patent spat with a start-up backed by the University of California.

The update changes how the browser handles Web programs known as ActiveX controls.

IE Updated after Patent Dispute [news.com.com]
5:45 pm on Mar 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

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it's listed under optional software,so autoupdating won't add it right?
12:04 am on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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from what I read in the eweek article the click to consent will only pop up when you actually interact with the item. So a flash ad would be ok, but if you tried to whack the monkey it would ask you to click to agree you wanted to do it first - sounds kind of OK to me really.
9:21 am on Mar 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Problem is that a lot of people are scared of these pop up boxes and erring on the side of caution will choose not to proceed.
5:14 pm on Apr 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just to bump this message back to the top.

I'm getting word from the Microsoft rep at my company that this patch update should be implemented on April 11.

Should be interesting!

12:01 pm on Apr 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Microsoft Delays IE's ActiveX D-Day [eweek.com]
Microsoft is moving full steam ahead with a plan to permanently modify [eweek.com] 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.

Eolas: Changing IE User Experience a Shame [eweek.com]

Eolas Technologies says the decision by Microsoft to modify its Internet Explorer browser at the expense of a seamless user experience is a "disappointment" and a "shame."

Reacting to news that the next cumulative IE security update will require an extra mouse-click to interact with certain embedded multimedia content, Eolas Chief Operating Officer Mark Swords called on the software maker to purchase a patent license instead of worsening the browsing experience.

3:38 pm on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I heard some blogger speculate that Microsoft may not be losing sleep over the 'seamless user experience' because breaking a lot of of third-party authored multimedia paves the way for their own new multimedia technologies, like Sparkle.

Personally, I hope this sparks a large exodus to alternative browsers, like Firefox.

7:00 pm on Apr 19, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Just thought I'd share, since this came up recently on a designer's list I'm on.

The Microsoft update is automatic - so yes, if you have your computer set to "automatic updates", you *will* be affected by this. (you *should* be affected already, as it happened April 11!) It's not just Flash they're targeting, but Active X controls ("embed" and "object" tags) - so Flash will be affected, but also QuickTime, Adobe, RealPlayer, Sun Java runtime and other controls like that.

On the list I'm on, there were two workarounds you could apply to your websites that would remove this irritation. One is javascript-based (sorry!), but it *does* validate and works like a charm. The other is recommended by Apple.

[blog.deconcept.com ] (the javascript one)
[developer.apple.com ] Apple's version

Hope this help you all out :)

6:50 am on Apr 20, 2006 (gmt 0)

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The Unobtrusive Flash Objects script (UFO) works around this as well - I've just moved over to it from flash satay.