Gadgets & Technology

Google Tricks Led Microsoft to Pick Chromium, Alleged Former Edge Developer


Microsoft earlier this month announced that it is parting ways with its EdgeHTML rendering engine to favour Chromium. While the move was at one end initially believed as another step by the Redmond giant to please the open source community, it was at the other end considered as a move largely influenced by popularity of the browser engine thanks to its presence in Google’s Chrome. A former Microsoft Edge developer has now claimed that the tough decision was taken seemingly due to anti-competitive practices by the Google team.

“[O]ne of the reasons we decided to end EdgeHTML was because Google kept making changes to its sites that broke other browsers, and we couldn’t keep up,” the alleged former Edge developer with username JoshuaJB wrote in a post on Hacker News.

“Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery, but almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome’s dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life. What makes it so sad, is that their claimed dominance was not due to ingenious optimisation work by Chrome, but due to a failure of YouTube. On the whole, they only made the Web slower,” the developer, said to be a former Microsoft intern, adds.

Alongside putting the blame majorly on the Google team for pushing the team to switch to Chromium, the former Edge developer alleged that the search giant brought issues to YouTube to make it intentionally slow on Edge browser. He also divulged that the Edge engineers had requested the YouTube team to fix the YouTube experience on browsers other than Chrome, but he mentioned the team turned down the request without elaborating any details.

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft Corporate Vice President for Windows, while announcing the Chromium adoption earlier this month didn’t mention any bit around the conflicts with Google. He had instead said the aim was to make the “Web experience better for many different audiences.”

Microsoft believes that the change from EdgeHTML to Chromium will take place “gradually over time”. However, the company is already set to start contributing to the Chromium community. It is also suggesting enthusiasts join the Microsoft Edge Insider community to continually receive new preview builds to ultimately set the stage for the refreshed Edge experience that will not be limited to Windows 10 but also to Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines. There are also plans to bring the Edge browser to Apple’s macOS.

We’ve reached out to Microsoft to understand the ongoing development and will update this space accordingly.

Microsoft may not specify the exact reason behind switching to Chromium. Nevertheless, it eventually brings the open source engine a common standard for developers building new Web solutions. The move by the Windows maker is also set to bring three major Web engines in the market, namely WebKit that is powering Apple’s Safari, Gecko that is behind Mozilla’s Firefox, and Chromium that powers not just Chrome but Opera, Vivaldi, and very soon Edge.

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