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Following announcements at the Microsoft Tech Ed IT Professionals 2008 conference in Orlando this week, it would appear that Internet Explorer 8 will concentrate on getting things right for the business user. This means a focus on deployment issues, a focus on improving compatibility and updates to the IE admin kit. Microsoft product managers writing on the official IEBlog have confirmed some of the measures that are to be taken in order to "help IT Professionals deploy and manage IE8 within their organization."

As a result of questioning more than 2000 IT professionals over the course of the last year, Microsoft has learned that some topics crop up more often than others when it comes to concerns surrounding the deployment of software in an enterprise. Such things as managing updates and upgrades, application compatibility and data security. In order to satisfy these users that Microsoft is listening to their input and taking appropriate action during the IE8 development process, it has been announced that some of the new features will include:

Slipstream Support to allow IE8 to be added into a Vista image so that deployments of the OS will effectively already come with Internet Explorer 8. Slipstreaming of IE8 cumulative updates will also be possible.

New events will be added to the Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) in order to improve the detection and resolution of potential issues between IE8 and other existing internal applications and web sites.

The addition of Group Policy settings to provide a granularity of control over those settings that most impact upon compatibility.

Security functions such as enabling ActiveX on a per user and per site basis and cross document messaging.

Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) facelifted to fix bugs and support custom IE8 builds for new platforms.

The good news is that you only have a couple of months to wait for a chance to get hands-on with the new functionality as Internet Explorer 8 is expected to ship in Beta form during August 2008.

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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