Microsoft is making "minor changes" to its Internet Explorer web browser that will affect how web page authors embed and automatically start certain interactive programs.
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The changes, which will alter how Explorer handles some web pages using ActiveX Controls, will be deployed early next year. Many web pages use these components for interactive ads and other online eye-grabbers.
Net surfers may also notice a change as developers who are in the process of updating their pages may add a dialogue box before the browser loads the ActiveX Controls.
The decision comes in response to a jury verdict on 11 August supporting software company Eolas' claim that it is the exclusive licensee of a patent covering the mechanism Explorer uses to embed and invoke certain interactive programs. The patent is owned by the University of California.
The jury ordered Microsoft to pay $520.6m (£311m) to Eolas in damages. The software maker has vowed to appeal against the ruling, and both parties are still in the process of filing post-trial motions and briefs.
The changes are expected to affect how Explorer handles some web pages using ActiveX Controls, such as Macromedia's Flash, Apple Computer's QuickTime, RealNetworks's RealOne, Adobe Systems' Acrobat Reader, Sun Microsystems' Java Virtual Machine and Microsoft's Media Player.
Microsoft said it will provide documentation on how developers can update their pages.
Scarlett Pruitt writes for IDG News Service