Google sabotaged Edge, hints former Microsoft intern
Google might have sabotaged Microsoft’s Edge browser, hints from one of the latter company’s former interns has revealed.
Ex-software engineering intern, Joshua Bakita, claims that the search engine giant’s tinkering made his work on Edge difficult. Google, Bakita alleges, frustrated his work on Edge by perpetually switching things around on its websites and services.
“I very recently worked on the Edge team,” Bakita explains in a post on Hacker News, “and one 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.”
One example Bakita cites relates to YouTube, where, he explains, the platform’s engineers “added a hidden empty div” over YouTube videos, a feat which “causes our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail.”
The result? A levelled out playing field. “Prior to that, our fairly state-of-the-art video acceleration put us well ahead of Chrome on video playback time on battery”. The frustration caused by Google’s tinkering with YouTube served to hinder Edge’s advantage.
It didn’t take long for Google to start shouting about its own platform’s superiority. Bakita contends that, “almost the instant they broke things on YouTube, they started advertising Chrome’s dominance over Edge on video-watching battery life.”
For all his hints about duplicitousness, Bakita doesn’t outright accuse the firm of being Machiavellian. “Now I’m not sure I’m convinced that YouTube was changed intentionally to slow Edge,” he writes. That wasn’t the case for everyone on his team, with the former Microsoft intern disclosing that “many” of his co-workers do believe this to be the case, so much so that they “looked into it personally.”
As for Google, it will be pretty easy to maintain innocence. Tweaks made to its sites may well have been organic and entirely unrelated to Edge’s performance. There’s no bad blood on Microsoft’s end, either. Speaking to TechRadar, a spokesperson for the company had nothing but social niceties for the search engine giant. “Google has been a helpful partner,” read the statement, “and we look forward to the journey as we work on the future of Microsoft Edge”.
For now, it looks like Edge’s fate is sealed; the platform will switch browser engines to the same one as Chrome. New Chromium-based Edge will be freed up for independent updates, meaning engineers won’t have to wait for big Windows 10 updates to rejig Edge. A win-win? Only time will tell.