Joshua Bakita, who worked as a software engineer in the development of the Microsoft Edge browser, has a singular theory about the recent decision that motivated his ex-company to change this browser to convert it into a Chromium-derived product.
According to that engineer, Google sabotaged Microsoft Edge. He did it through changes in their websites that “broke” other browsers and forced developers to adapt to those changes in order to render them well. It has flats, especially when Microsoft did exactly the same thing years ago: there was a time when Internet Explorer 6 dominated the world and made the web what it wanted for a long time.
Playing with Google games
The popularity of services such as Gmail, YouTube or Google Maps is a powerful tool to influence the segment of browsers : if Google changes something in them and that change is only seen with certain changes in browsers, not making them causes users to end having trouble visiting those sites.
That does not happen if you visit them with Google Chrome, of course, because this development is controlled by Google, which plays with that advantage to make changes to their sites that in some cases only work well with Chrome, at least at the beginning.
The rest of browsers must adapt to support these new features, something that causes a unique situation that for some could have ended up making Microsoft surrender in this segment.
The company announced a few days ago that Microsoft Edge would abandon its EdgeHTML engine to become based on the Chromium browser. For Bakita Google took advantage of its dominant position and popular services to sabotage Microsoft Edge:
I recently worked on the Edge team, and one of the reasons why we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to their sites that other browsers broke and we could not keep up with them. For example, recently they added an empty hidden div on YouTube videos that makes our hardware acceleration not work (something that should be corrected with the Windows update October 10). Before that happened our advanced video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome in terms of efficiency and autonomy when playing videos, but almost at the moment they “broke” things on YouTube began to boast of the superiority of Chrome over Edge precisely in that section. What makes this so sad is that it’s supposed superiority was not due to the clever work of optimizing Chrome, but to a failure of YouTube. What they did in broad strokes is to make the entire web slower.
Edge could not keep up
This developer confessed that he was not entirely sure that Google had made that change to harm Edge, but several of his colleagues, he says, “are quite convinced, and they are the ones who have personally investigated.” That’s right: Google rejected the request that those engineers made to eliminate that empty div parameter, and that’s where the thing stayed.
The truth is that as discussed in Neowin Microsoft it had a problem with its approach to updates in Microsoft Edge: the company could only add improvements and changes in Edge twice a year, with the major updates of Windows 10. As an integral part of the operating system, the browser could not keep up with the constant updates present in other browsers.
That will change with the new Edge based on Chromium, which will become an independent element that will have “life of its own” and that can also be installed in previous versions of Windows, something that has not happened with Microsoft Edge.
The most ironic thing is that Microsoft did exactly the same
The arguments of the indictment of that engineer are solid, and in fact this is not the first nor the only time that someone has accused Google of making changes to their websites that harm all browsers except Chrome.
It happened for example in July of this year, when Mozilla indicated that YouTube works five times slower in Firefox and in Edge than in Google Chrome. The redesign of YouTube was at fault according to the tweet of one of those responsible for Mozilla, although there they proposed solutions to avoid that problem.
Long before there were already suspicions of Google’s disputable techniques to try to harm its rivals in the field of browsers. Security companies accused the Mountain View Company of offering “fake” security studies in browsers so that Chrome could take its toll and Firefox would be in a bad position. That happened seven years ago.
Accusations about the power and influence that Google has on the web have led to publications like The Verge to say that Google Chrome is the new Internet Explorer 6. The comparison is more appropriate than ever, especially because of the way in which Google is taking advantage of its influence to boost the domain of its browser.
The problem is not that he does it as he seems he does. That is wrong, of course. The problem is that someone has the nose to criticize him – even if they are his former employees – when the Redmond Company did exactly the same with Internet Explorer 6.
For those who do not remember, that browser debuted in Windows XP, and was an integral part of the operating system at a time when the browser was more important than ever.
At first you used IE6 because you were really good at it. In the end I did it because there were not many more options: there were so many websites that were surrendered to the requirements of IE6 that web developers and developers around the world went crazy having to endure this dictatorship that did not respect universal web standards. That browser would end up becoming the great hated of all, Microsoft included.
IE6 went to his roll and everyone followed the copla because they had to. And that’s exactly what Google Chrome is doing, albeit with something more than dissimulation. That I should not do it is another matter. That former employees or Microsoft employees criticize, as we said, has flats. A lot of them.