During a recent Microsoft TechNet Q & A chat, Internet Explorer Program Manager Brian Countryman revealed that IE6 SP1 will be the last standalone browser offering from the company by saying.
"As part of the OS, IE will continue to evolve, but there will be no future standalone installations. IE6 SP1 is the final standalone installation. Legacy OSes have reached their zenith with the addition of IE 6 SP1. Further improvements to IE will require enhancements to the underlying OS".
So commencing with the next version of Windows (codename Longhorn) due in 2005, the browser will become an integral part of the operating system. Thanks to Neowin for bringing this story to my attention.
More information @ Microsoft