Could it be?
Has Microsoft forcibly started pushing IE8 to Windows XP machines via Windows Update?
As cruel as it might sound the user still has an opt-out choice when security updates are available. The spreading of IE8 could mean a quicker death of IE6 which is good for everyone except for those corporate IT admins clinging to their installation-images with IE6 as default. Die, clingy corporate admins, die!
I'm carefully excited.