The take up of Internet Explorer 8 hasn't been stellar to date with IE7 still dominating the market and Firefox recently overtaking IE7 to become the top browser in Europe so it should be no surprise to see Microsoft turning push into shove...
In a post on its official blog, the IE8 team has announced it will be distributing IE8 via Automatic Update/Windows Update in the third week of April (next week).
"Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8," said IE8 Lead Program Manager Eric Hebenstreit.
"This rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to the entire user base. On Windows XP and Server 2003, the update will be High-Priority. On Windows Vista and Server 2008 it will be Important. IE8 will not automatically install on machines. Users must opt-in to install IE8. Users will see a Welcome screen that offers choices: Ask later, install now, or don't install."
Windows 7 beta testers will be excluded as Microsoft isn't porting the browser until the RC (release candidate) ships. Given beta testers tend to live on the cutting edge however I suspect they're running Firefox or Chrome anyway.
Batten down the hatches people...