Microsoft recently threw in the towel and announced that they will abandon development of their EdgeHTML web rendering engine and switch to Google’s Chromium engine.
While the move was widely welcomed, many also questioned why Microsoft would switch to a rendering engine which they always accused of being slower, and which required more battery power and resources.
According to an engineer who claims to have worked on the Edge web browser, Microsoft had been fighting a losing battle and simply gave up. He claimed Google used their widely used web properties to sabotage Edge, for example adding an empty div on YouTube which prevented Edge from using hardware acceleration.
I very recently worked on the Edge team, 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. For example, they recently added a hidden empty div over YouTube videos that causes our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail (should now be fixed in Win10 Oct update). 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 optimization work by Chrome, but due to a failure of YouTube. On the whole, they only made the web slower.
Now while I’m not sure I’m convinced that YouTube was changed intentionally to slow Edge, many of my co-workers are quite convinced – and they’re the ones who looked into it personally. To add to this all, when we asked, YouTube turned down our request to remove the hidden empty div and did not elaborate further.
And this is only one case.
This would of course not be the first time Google has been accused of using their monopoly dominance of the web to disadvantage competitors, which may explain why the European Commission fined then 4.3 billion Euros.
Do our readers think this accusation is credible? Let us know below.