Outlook 2003, IE, and things Microsoftian


I’ve been testing some things using Outlook 2003 on my Windows machine. Something happened when trying to view a particular PDF document from a link in an email and Outlook stopped responding. I killed it with the Task Manager, and consented to send the error report to Microsoft. The error report process nicely came back noting that there is an update to Office 2003 available that I should probably install. When I clicked on the link, it went off to the Microsoft site, but then came back with a message saying that I needed to use Internet Explorer to get the update (Firefox is my default browser).

I thought it was interesting that you have to use IE to get Office updates…. especially to see that on the same day that real-life exploits of the latest IE vulnerability have been reported.

Of course, my Windows machine is running XP SP2, so it wouldn’t have been affected, but it still seems silly that Microsoft should tie updates to other application software to its browser.

UPDATE 24 September
Bruce Fulton points out that it’s probably due to Firefox not handling ActiveX controls. I’m not sure I think updates to an application *should* be handled by active code running from a browser. It seems more architecturally sound to me to handle updates to an application (or an application suite) by having the update code run as part of the application itself – which is how Office updates are handled on the Mac.

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