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Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - Printable Version

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Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 12-18-2018
Quote:Former software engineering intern on the Edge team at Microsoft Joshua Bakita says otherwise though. In a post on Hacker News, Bakita says that one of the reasons for the switch was because Google kept changing up their web apps, making them not run properly on other browsers.

Here's the full post:
What's particularly interesting about this is that whether Google did this intentionally or not, Microsoft fell into a trap that it set for itself. When Bakita says, "we couldn't keep up", and goes on to say that the issue is fixed in the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, that's actually because Microsoft set a path for itself where it could only add new features to Edge with feature updates to Windows 10. That limits the company to twice per year.

With the new Chromium-based Edge, the browser will finally be separated from the OS, so it can be updated independently. That's a big change because that means that it can be updated as often as the Edge team wants.

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 12-18-2018
Quote:But I don’t need to stick up for the way Microsoft pushed people to use Edge to see the danger in giving any single company too much control over standards and practices. We don’t know if the story above is actually true — as of this writing, it hasn’t been independently confirmed. But it’s not hard to believe, and we’ve seen historical examples of how this kind of monopoly can work against companies that attempt to create alternatives. IE6 dominated the internet to such a degree that websites were often programmed to perform well in Internet Explorer, even when this broke standards or failed to conform to best practices. Competing browsers that attempted to implement standards correctly would then fail to work with IE6 pages.

Ars Technica gives another example of how Google has designed sites like YouTube to favor its own approach, to the detriment of other browsers.
The fact that Chromium is open source won’t ultimately matter much if one company still represents the overwhelming force behind its development and the associated development of future web standards. In mobile, Apple still has some sway, thanks to Safari on the iPhone. But Mozilla Firefox, with its 9 percent market share, is now the only bulwark against Chrome’s total domination of the desktop browser market.

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 12-20-2018

Google/YouTube denies the charge:

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 12-20-2018
Quote:Let’s be honest about this, however. Yes, it’s absolutely possible that the performance or battery life regressions that hit Edge were caused by a bug, not a deliberate attempt to engineer a performance advantage for Google. But this would be far from the first time that an advantageous bug was allowed to persist for longer than it might have otherwise. And Google has been accused of these shenanigans by Firefox as well, which noted in July that Google had decided to implement a redesign of YouTube that relied on a deprecated API version only used in Chrome to start with.
Google, in other words, has every reason to paint these issues as bugs, or products of imperfect communication between teams, or even strategic decisions made to boost the performance of its own browser rather than actions that could negatively impact the performance of products built by other companies. Saying anything else invites scrutiny by lawmakers at a time when Google and other tech companies are already facing increasing questions over their power.
Right now, there’s only one real way for an average person to try and make a difference to Chrome’s overall browser domination: Use Firefox. At the very least, I’d give it a shot. Post-Quantum, it’s been a remarkably good browser. Opinions and experiences being what they are, plenty of people will obviously disagree — Firefox’s share of the browser market fell to as small as it is today for a variety of reasons, and reversing that isn’t particularly easy. But there is, at least, one alternative to Chrome if you’re concerned about handing too much market power to any single company, regardless of which firm it is.

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 12-21-2018
Quote:Web developers, meanwhile, chimed in, noting that they often add empty div tags in code for a number of reasons. "I can point to hundreds upon hundreds of hidden, invisible, and obscured DOM elements that have no obvious reason to for existing to someone outside the code-base," wrote one in response, on Hacker News.

"We often use empty DIVs for catching mouse events," said another. Others proposed that it could be used as a container for branding and annotations, or for catching out and blocking bots attempting to inflate video viewing figures and clicks. In short, there are lots of reasons why an empty div tag may have been added.

The claim that Google started advertising Chrome's superiority over other browsers when it comes to YouTube is also questioned by online commenters, although their credibility is also questionable since no one gave any indication of what efforts they went to in order to discover if the claim was true.

In short, there is precious little evidence that Google is doing anything to disrupt other browsers. And even if there was better evidence, Google would no doubt have a technical explanation or some kind of plausible deniability.

But that doesn't escape the fact that the post, as poorly sourced as it is, has gone the round of the tech community today. And the reason for that is quite clear: with Microsoft announcing it will shift its browser engine to Chromium, Google now has an uncomfortably large degree of control.

Despite all the antitrust probing in the 1990s and early 2000s, today's generation of Big Tech has shown itself more than willing to screw over rivals and users, and then lie about it. For Google, the fact that it was willing to develop its censored Dragonfly search product for China and did everything in its power to keep the project secret, and that it secretly paid off executives accused of sexual harassment, points to the fact that its culture is going the way of other massive corporations in the past.

And then there's Facebook, which has shown itself to be a wholly untrustworthy company, and one that is willing to hire political attack firm to plant anti-Semitic smears against its critics. And then lie about it.

If Google is later proved to be messing with its code solely to disrupt rivals, the fact that a Microsoft intern first flagged it will be a delicious irony. We've pinged Google for comment.
Separately, we understand the weird empty div tag on YouTube videos, the one that knackered Edge's hardware acceleration, was declared a "bug" and removed.

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 04-16-2019
Quote:According to Nightingale, Google services such as Google Docs and Gmail would have selective performance issues in Firefox, demo sites would incorrectly claim Firefox is incompatible, and so on. Each time Mozilla called attention to those problems, Google would apologize and say a fix is on the way, but the same situation would repeat itself over and over, "maybe hundreds" of times. Each time, Firefox would lose users to Chrome, ultimately giving Google's browser the popularity it has today.

While Nightingale later states that Firefox's downfall is Mozilla's own doing, this isn't the first time Google comes under attack for intentionally breaking the way websites work on competing browsers. Another Mozilla executive last year accused Google of artificially creating performance issues on YouTube when using Edge or Firefox, and a former Edge intern made a similar accusation towards the end of 2018. Microsoft ultimately gave up on its own efforts and has now launched a Chromium-based version of Edge to those who signed up for the Insider program.

RE: Former Microsoft Intern Alleges Google Sabotaged Microsoft Edge - SteelCrysis - 05-29-2019
At this point, it's really hard to believe Google's claim that this is just a bug.
Quote:A few weeks ago, Microsoft released development versions of its new Chromium-based Edge browser, a move which was supposed to help the company keep up with the competition. Google, however, was quick to update many of its websites to say that Microsoft's new browser isn't supported. While many of those services may not necessarily be used by a lot of people - and therefore not have a tremendous impact - YouTube has now joined the ranks as well.

Zac Bowden of Windows Central posted on Twitter earlier today, showing that the website is forcing users onto the old design rather than the current one, asking users to download Google Chrome in order to use the new design. While our machines haven't displayed the message suggesting Google's own browser, it seems that the old YouTube design is being served to the new Edge, regardless of what branch you're using.
Update: Google has responded to our request for comment, saying that the situation is caused by a bug, and that the company is working on a fix. Here's the official statement from YouTube: