For a long time, Microsoft has had the capability to force users to update to the most recent version, but they resisted from what I hear, because so many businesses had created internal applications that only ran on one specific version of IE, there was a lot of bitching. Bitch and cry all you want, MS is finally turning on automatic updating for everyone using IE to make sure you’ve got the latest version.
Sure, IE still isn’t the ideal browser, but at least this should clear out all the IE 6, 7 and 8 riff-raff and get people using some sort of modern browser. The best solution would be to force all IE users to use something like Chrome or Firefox, but there might be laws against that.
Automatic updating will begin in January in Australia and Brazil and will slowly work its way out to the rest of the world from there.