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Microsoft issues expected browser updates

Following long-standing patent dispute

Microsoft has issued several expected changes to how Internet Explorer deals with interactive content on web pages, an update stemming from a long-running patent infringement dispute.

The changes concern ActiveX controls, used by some programs to access content such as movies or music built into web pages. Microsoft characterised the changes as minor when announcing the planned update in December. The details are available here.

After the update is installed, users will have to manually click an ActiveX control to run the content, the company said. The updates affect Internet Explorer 6.0 for Windows XP Service Pack 2.0 and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1.0, Microsoft said.

Microsoft was sued in 1999 for patent infringement related to ActiveX controls by Eolas, and the University of California later joined the suit. On appeal, a $520m (about £300m) damages award against Microsoft was thrown out by a judge in March 2005, and the case has been sent back to a lower court for a new trial.

Nonetheless, Microsoft moved forward with changes to swerve around the patent, which was validated in September 2005 by the US Patent and Trademark Office.


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