back to article Is Google purposefully breaking Microsoft, Apple browsers on its websites? Some insiders are confident it is

In what can only be described as painfully ironic, Microsoft engineers are seemingly convinced that Google is making changes to its websites in order to break rival browsers. Someone claiming to have worked to Microsoft's Edge team has alleged that Redmond ditched its own browser engine, EdgeHTML, in favor of Google's Chromium …

  1. PJ H
    FAIL

    Brittle software?

    the appearance of a seemingly useless empty HTML div tag in YouTube videos that had the effect of slowing down the Edge browser. According to the intern, that tag caused "our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail"

    They wouldn't have been trying to game the whole system themselves would they? Why else would a seemingly innocuous empty tag cause such problems?

    1. DougS Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Brittle software?

      You don't understand. You HAVE to disable hardware acceleration in that case, because Javascript could rewrite that empty tag to make it contain something which might be over the video window, which would require software rendering.

      It is absolutely clear Google did this specifically to break the hardware acceleration on other browsers - probably more targeted at mobile than desktop since that's where power usage matters more. Chrome could skip this particular empty div tag since it "knows" what it is for. If other browsers ignored it on this site, Google could make it do something (after addressing this in a Chrome update) and then those browsers are "broken" on Youtube.

      Google is 100% in the wrong here, and have been caught with their pants down. Sad to see people defending such evil and anti-competitive behavior. The FTC should look into forcing them to spin off Chrome, a company that controls so many important web destinations has no business being involved on the browser side as well. This episode clearly demonstrates why.

      1. p3ngwin1

        Re: Brittle software?

        "It is absolutely clear Google did this specifically to break the hardware acceleration on other browsers - probably more targeted at mobile than desktop since that's where power usage matters more."

        That makes absolutely no sense.

        Google relies on mobile for user consumption and mobile ads. This is one of the reasons Google pays Apple $3 Billion per *year* to make Google the default search engine.

        What do you think Android, and Apple users, do after they search using the Google Engine and get results? They hit the link and open the *browser* to the information they want.

        Google needs Android, and iOS, to have mobile sites, and especially Youtube, working for users, as it makes Google a *lot* of money.

        Why on earth would Google sabotage not only their own Android platform, with ~100% Chrome usage, or iOS, with ~100 Safari usage ?

        1. Filippo

          Re: Brittle software?

          They don't, specifically because they control both the website and the browser. They can break the website, and at the same time patch Chrome so that it un-breaks it on load. Other browser makers can replicate the patch, but Google can just do this again and again, and the rest will always lag behind.

          1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: Brittle software?

            "They can break the website, and at the same time patch Chrome so that it un-breaks it on load."

            That's a pretty strong claim. If anyone has evidence that Chrome has code to un-break websites controlled by Google then I think that would be fairly clearly evidence of an attempt to leverage a monopoly in one area to create a monopoly in another, which is illegal in quite a few places (including the US).

            1. David 164 Bronze badge

              Re: Brittle software?

              An given that chrome is open source it shouldn't take anyone to long to find that code, in fact it should stick out like a sore thumb. Let be honest they won't because Google isn't that dumb and the coordination needed between Youtube and Chrome teams would mean to many people would know about this evil scheme for it to stay secret for long.

              1. soulrideruk Bronze badge

                Re: Brittle software?

                Chrome is not open source, Chromium is open source, Chrome is closed source, so no-one can check the code to find out....

              2. illiad

                Re: Brittle software?

                there has been 'modifiable code' since BEFORE chrome..

                just look for a strange http sequence hidden in quotes or comments!!

                1. Adam 1 Silver badge

                  Re: Brittle software?

                  Comments are not included in a compiled binary.

            2. teknopaul Bronze badge

              Re: Brittle software?

              SPDY was pretty close to that. Made all browsers comparatively slow if they were following standards.

              I know we have HTML/2 but Google over chrome implemented SPDY way before anyone else was able to do it.

              I'm for reulation of some sort that creates a level playing field. The internet is not just a product these days, it is the market.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Brittle software?

          Why on earth would Google sabotage not only their own Android platform, with ~100% Chrome usage, or iOS, with ~100 Safari usage ?

          Google wouldn't be sabotaging mobile platforms as a) they control Android's rendering engine that most Android browsers just skin over and Blink renders it fine, b) must people would use the YouTube app anyway, and c) YouTube can easily serve up something else for iOS if necessary (unverified claim).

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            Re: Brittle software?

            Google down own Android. They are a maintainer of an opensource project. BIG difference...

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Brittle software?

        You don't understand. You HAVE to disable hardware acceleration in that case, because Javascript could rewrite that empty tag to make it contain something which might be over the video window, which would require software rendering.

        You do realise that with utterly trivial JavaScript code pretty much any element in the page could be made to overlay the video window? Therefore this supposedly awful empty DIV element really doesn't matter?

      3. David 164 Bronze badge

        Re: Brittle software?

        But then surely that slows down everyone else's browsers hardware acceleration, unless Chrome hardware accelerator doesn't turn off, thus disproving your statement that you have to do this.

        Chrome is open source, so it wouldn't be to hard to find the code that tells chrome what this div is for.

      4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        "Chrome could skip this particular empty div tag since it "knows" what it is for."

        Hmm.

        Which suggests there would some kind of "skip list" mechanism in Chrome. Examples would include

        a) Hard coded list

        b) Download from site as part of the download/render process

        c) Skip tags in a specific part of a page through some kind of "relative addressing" mechanism.

        If Chrome is "open source" then this would be in the source code and if not (but included in pre-built versions) it should show up rendering the same site using pre-built and source code versions of the same release.

        Which suggests this is a statement that could be proved, or disproved.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Brittle software?

      Shadow DOM v0 is not used, except on Chrome and Chrome-based browsers. It was a Google standard and will be dropped. All other browser makers understandably concentrated on Shadow DOM v1 which is the cross-browser standard.

      However Google made YouTube use Shadow DOM v0 instead of v1, with the consequential performance impact on all non-Chrome browsers.

      Google can just churn out standards and one way or another other browser makers will be left behind.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brittle software?

        >Google can just churn out standards and one way or another other browser makers will be left behind.

        It's about browser makers dropping (W3C not Google) standards and pushing forwards without regard.

        Easy to detect the difference between v0/v1 - much web content is historical - a decent browser should support legacy web content, none of them make a particularly good job of it.

        I'd argue Google dropping v0 support in Chrome next April is just as bad as the You Tube loading delay caused by MS and Mozilla having done so earlier.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: Brittle software?

          I would say the current Google hegemony is worse than the abusive Microsoft monopoly of the 90s.

          Back then, browser makers innovated, and hundreds of thousands of webmasters (remember them?) strove to keep up, trying their best to please their myriad customers.

          Now, those "hundreds of thousands" are whittled down to maybe a dozen hosts that actually matter - Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon etc. - and everyone else is either insignificant or (in most cases) piggybacking on one of the big players. Independent webmasters - the kind of people who actively maintained and tested their own CSS and JS - are, if not quite dead yet, then certainly a dying breed.

          And when the dominant player in web hosting is also, simultaneously, the number one browser maker... that's a far bigger concentration of power than Microsoft ever had.

          What gives me hope is that - I remember in the 1990s we thought Microsoft's hold was unbreakable, then Google came and ate their lunch. Someone, somewhere, will do the same to Google one day.

          1. find users who cut cat tail

            Re: Brittle software?

            Someone, somewhere, will do the same to Google one day.

            That is reassuring, but what is the chance this next company will not be even nastier than Google?

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Brittle software?

              "what is the chance this next company will not be even nastier than Google?"

              Almost all of the current tech titans started off as scrappy newcomers and were, at that stage, reasonably decent companies. They all turned bad once they became megacorporations. This is not unique to the tech industry -- you can see this pattern throughout history in every industry.

              I fully expect that whoever is going eat Google's lunch will follow the same trajectory.

            2. M man

              Re: Brittle software?

              baido browser?

          2. Rob Gr

            Re: Brittle software?

            That also required the legal system in the US and EU interceding to force MS to drop anti-competitive practices. I suspect the same intervention may be required here, but am not convinced the authorities are on the case.

            1. DougS Silver badge

              Re: Brittle software?

              Google doesn't own the open source part of Android, but they distribute the open source + closed source flavor of Android that pretty much every Android OEM selling into the US/UK/EU uses. So basically they do "own Android".

              1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

                Re: Brittle software?

                Google doesn't own the open source part of Android, but they distribute the open source + closed source flavor of Android that pretty much every Android OEM selling into the US/UK/EU uses. So basically they do "own Android".

                So I guess the remedy here would be to require bootloader access on ALL Android devices (so we can load different firmware on them), NO apps on the system that cannot be unloaded/uninstalled, etc.

                1. illiad

                  Re: Brittle software?

                  A lot of this 'no access' is demanded by the phone companies and sellers - they have difficulty enough from 'simple people' having problems.. that is why many go apple, due to being 'fashion victims'..

              2. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: Brittle software?

                Google does not "own" Android. The proof of this is that you can get other Android ROMs that exclude everything Googly and install them onto your device. This is always the first thing I do with any new Android device I get (if I accidentally buy one where the bootloader is locked and nobody's cracked it yet, I return the device and get a different one).

                1. DougS Silver badge

                  Re: Brittle software?

                  And how many people go to the length of buying an Android device, installing a new ROM, installing clean Android AND not installing any Google stuff like Play store or search? In the US/UK/EU, probably 0.1% do that.

                  In the real world, for all practical purposes, Google owns Android.

          3. David 164 Bronze badge

            Re: Brittle software?

            the dominate player in web hosting by a substantial margin is Amazon.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Brittle software?

          I'd argue Google dropping v0 support in Chrome next April is just as bad as the You Tube loading delay caused by MS and Mozilla having done so earlier.

          No, this 'standard' was written only by Google and implemented only in Chrome (and Blink).

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Brittle software?

        Google shouldn't have to wait for the dinosaurs, most of the good things we have are down to Google NOT waiting for these to procrastinate.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: Brittle software?

          most of the good things we have are down to Google NOT waiting

          Such as?

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          "Google shouldn't have to wait for the dinosaurs,"

          Grown ups talking.

          Go back to your Chocolate Factory cubicle

      3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: Brittle software?

        However Google made YouTube use Shadow DOM v0 instead of v1, with the consequential performance impact on all non-Chrome browsers.

        Google can just churn out standards and one way or another other browser makers will be left behind.

        About the only reason I'm using a Chrome-based browser (Brave) for YouTube is because I can readily set it up to block ALL ads on YouTube, while I use Waterfox for everyone else (no ad-blocker, although I *do* filter 3rd-party cookies) since I think it's perfectly fair for everyone BUT Google to get paid for their work. Eventually I'll have time to set up an ad-blocker and let it default to "whitelist" mode except for those sites that specifically piss me off (other than YT that is, which has already breached that threshold).

        I just wonder if you could simply make a pre-processor extension for Gecko-based browsers, to extract the relevant data and links, and render an alternate, local version of the page.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Brittle software?

          Thanks for that YouTube with Brave tip, just what I was looking for!

        2. ROC

          Re: Brittle software?

          SeaMonkey allows the user to edit the current page (Ctrl-E), hence a local copy. I do that whenever one of the pop-over notices about using an ad blocker covers the page - Ctrl-E, close the original page, then peruse my copy without hindrance (and edit if I have reason to). Take it from there...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brittle software?

      Indeed, if Microsoft didn't have a shite browser, why would this even be a problem?

      Infact, didn't Opera cry about this to Microsoft in the past? "Our browser engine isn't very good, please make your websites more friendly to our broken parsers"?

      1. Dave Bell

        Re: Brittle software?

        Opera runs on the Chromium engine now. So their website says, anyway, but some sources seem to use different names for the same thing.

        Opera has some nice features, but I am very careful about backing up before I do a version upgrade, there have been some odd glitches.

        Chrome/Chromium is appearing in a lot of places. One program I use manages to open three copies of a library called "Dullahan", just when you start it. For sundry other reasons, I am a bit wary. Security is as much a state of mind as a set of tools, and the best locks in the world are useless if you don't lock them.

        I am still trying to figure out why an empty <div> is such a killer. The descriptions I have seen suggest something close to self-modifying code, and that feels rather scary. Some other Javascript doing something to put something unpredictable in that <div> block? Colour me red and run me up a flagpole, but that sounds like a pretty bad security risk. At best, it's like having to download those auto-playing advertising videos.

      2. bpfh Bronze badge

        Re: Brittle software?

        No, Opera complained that some Microsoft web pages served borked html when Opera said it was opera, but when Opera changed its browser ID string to say it was IE, it got parseable HTML that worked as expected

    4. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Re: Brittle software?

      Brittle software?

      Nah, it's brittle regulations which allow this mega corp to abuse its power even more.

      Time overdue to seperate Google Chrome from the rest of the business and ban them from even launching their own browser. Same deal for MS and Apple - no browser ownership allowed, leave it to independent third parties.

  2. jeff_w87

    Pot calling the kettle black here. I think the real problem is that Edge hardly worked properly at all on most sites. Every time it was given a chance by me it failed. Chrome and Firefox seem pretty rock solid nowadays; however, I can't say the same for much that comes out of Redmond anymore (maybe they should hire some QA personnel again vice using their users as guinea pigs???).

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      On an article about Google deliberately messing up other browsers your explaining that you like how robust chrome is?

    2. Persona

      I think the real problem is that Edge hardly worked properly at all on most sites.

      Edge works well for me, especially on my old underpowered tablet where Chrome sucks. I do try hard to avoid Google web sites as they suck badly on Edge ...... and they nag me to install Chrome.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        Re: I think the real problem is that Edge hardly worked properly at all on most sites.

        Edge works well for me, especially on my old underpowered tablet where Chrome sucks.

        If the tablet in question runs Android, then Edge is actually Chrome (WebView), so any difference is purely placebo effect.

        If it's Windows, then accept my apologies for my unnecessary pedantry.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: I think the real problem is that Edge hardly worked properly at all on most sites.

          edge is shite. utter shite. we use as many gpos as possible to direct most requests to chrome with a few using legacy browser plugin to IE (silverlight pages that havent yet been updated). Apart from that we avoid edge.

    3. Publik_Emily_Numba_1

      One of the worst culprits for slowing down Edge seems to be the MSN based default new tab...

      1. Jim Birch

        Edge breaks a lot of Microsoft stuff, specifically, where plain old html is ok. A number of our sites that are generated with Microsoft tools have DontUseEdge settings. This goes back a long way - 1990s - to Microsoft attempting to tweak up a series of Internet Explorer versions with numerous deviations from the standards. Website responded by detecting the browser and modifying the pages they supplied for the rendering engine. The total dollar cost of this two decade second-guessing game must be humongous. Plus the accumulated aggravation.

        It has ended with a dose of cosmic karma as Microsoft moves to the Chromium renderer, basically because they could not keep up with their own shenanigans.

  3. DougS Silver badge

    Google playing the embrace and extend game

    Since they control important parts of the web, they can put random crap in their web sites that breaks other browsers, while already having prepared Chrome for it. Then everyone slowly switches to Chrome so Google can steal their personal information.

    Great plan for a company without any morals whatsoever. At least Microsoft only controlled the browser, what Google is doing here is far worse. But I see people are already excusing it because "Microsoft did bad stuff like this in the past" or falsely blaming "brittle software".

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Google playing the embrace and extend game

      But I see people are already excusing it because "Microsoft did bad stuff like this in the past" or falsely blaming "brittle software".

      There really is no excuse to blow it off just "because MS did it". Way back when, MS pulled a of shenanigans with OS's, browsers, etc. to drive competitors out of business. They even did it to kill of such as Borland's C/C+ by hiding OS functions, etc. so that Borland's complier looked like crap. Google has learned from the Master, so to speak and then improved their game. This doesn't make it right as it never was right and never will be, but these guys still play "damn the torpedoes and take no prisoners where money and power are concerned.

      I'll also add that the whistle blowing intern probalby has backing from someone big at MS. He might be a sacrificial lamb or a carefully controlled employee.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "to kill of such as Borland's C/C+ by hiding OS functions"

        "Undocumented" APIs were more an issue for application developers than for compilers. Once you found them and their parameters, you could call them anyway as their ABI was still a standard C/C++ one. Of course libraries were impacted as they took time to support "undocumented" - or badly documented - features.

        But it is true that controlling both the OS and the development tools MS could deliver support for new features far sooner than Borland could. MS tools releases were aligned with the OS (meanwhile MS lured away key people like Hejlsberg and others, which also slowed down development), while competitors could deliver only a few months later when enough specification became available.

        Controlling the browser today can easily achieve the same aim.

  4. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Mozilla also complained about GooTube

    Chris Peterson @cpeterso

    YouTube page load is 5x slower in Firefox and Edge than in Chrome because YouTube's Polymer redesign relies on the deprecated Shadow DOM v0 API only implemented in Chrome. You can restore YouTube's faster pre-Polymer design with this Firefox extension:

    YouTube Classic

    And it did fix the problem on 52 ESR and happily got rid of the huge white space found in the current design as well. I'm not sure if the latest version of Firefox (or in my case Waterfox) has worked around this, as I've still got the extension installed and will keep it installed just so I can see a less cruddy design.

  5. ratfox Silver badge

    Make no mistake, Google crippling GSuite on iPad is absolutely intentional. They can singlehandedly propel the narrative that MobileSafari isn't a good browser, especially in businesses and education.

    Err... You mean that people in charge of the GSuite, who have quite serious competitors of their own, deliberately made their own product slower in order to help Chrome defend its massive market share from Safari? Seriously?

    First, leverage goes the other way. You can use your position of strength to push your weak products, not the other way round.

    Second, you should stop thinking that everything is always about you, fanboy. Google is very worried about Amazon and Microsoft these days. Apple? not so much.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "deliberately made their own product slower in order to help Chrome"

      That market share may not be distributed equally - I'm sure iPads/iPhones are far more common in the upper strata of a company than Chrome devices - for obvious status-symbol reason. Also, in US Google has not the mobile dominance it has outside it.

      It could make sense to reach those people who may have far more succulent data to hoard - and who also dictates which technologies and suppliers to use.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    support Mozilla

    Time to support Mozilla then. I'm quite impressed with Firefox from v59 after they rewrote most of their internals to use multicpus. Occasionally I start Edge or Chrome, but is it mainly to use Fiddler (Edge/Chromium uses the win10 system proxy) or Puppeter (script control browser via Chromium).

    https://donate.mozilla.org/

    Ironically If mozilla fails Google will most likely face big-time anti-trust allegations. Never has so much power been concentrated in one place. Chrome, search, Gmail, Youtube, Android, maps, Cloud etc. If you frequently use these services, they know everything about you. Your interests, where you have been, your friends etc. I do not think one company should have all this power.

    I was in a foreign country in a shabby internet cafe and did my habitual browsing. No log in to gmail or android turned on yet. but after 4 searches I saw familiar ads ( the same ad for a very specific vacation I had recently searched at home in my local language) showing up, A few seconds to browse ~4 billion online activity patterns to find mine. quite impressive googleanalytics.

    Youtube is another example it doesn't take many videos before the recommendations look very familiar to what you get when you are logged in.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: support Mozilla

      "Time to support Mozilla then."

      I wish that I liked the new Firefox. I really, really want to, but I just don't.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: support Mozilla

        I've gone back to Firefox because gmail doesn't work in Chrome.

        Yep, you heard that right. Gmail goes into infinite redirect on Chrome.

        I haven't yet worked out why, but I suspect it's probably due to being on a shared computer and the way Chrome tries to force you to be logged into a Google account.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: support Mozilla

          >I've gone back to Firefox because gmail doesn't work in Chrome.

          >Yep, you heard that right. Gmail goes into infinite redirect on Chrome.

          Relieved that it's not just me. Yeah, I have to start Chrome just to look up or edit contacts list and to use Google Keep notes. Firefox behaves similarly to what you describe, and I have not dug into it. I've half-assumed it is deliberate, because Google 2018.

          Ironically, I switched from Chrome as primary browser a few years back because it was killing machine performance. Yet FF just pain broke - but only on Google sites.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: support Mozilla

            I would not be surprised to hear that google has deliberately broken various things. Recently, I noticed a difference between recaptcha (made by Google) systems on different sites. I use one site that makes me use it a lot, and the system always works then. Then, I wanted to set up a protonmail account, which also requires a captcha to prevent spammers from using it. Imagine this: the recaptcha system suddenly got confused. My computer or network was sending out automated queries or something. I should please try again after several minutes (it took four hours for this message to go away). And the next time, where keyboard input on the box didn't work because javascript error or something that was definitely just a one-time thing and not anyone's fault at all, and the next time, when my computer or network was back to sending automated queries. Back to another site, and it works well again. Either protonmail just happens to write very terrible code that also manages to infect Google's backend, or Google's captcha system would rather not support an alternative to gmail.

      2. illiad

        Re: support Mozilla

        try pale moon - you may find it better than waterfox etc... :)

        if you cannot be bothered to look, here are the main features..

        Optimized for modern processors

        Based on our own optimized layout engine (Goanna)

        Safe: forked from mature Mozilla code and regularly updated

        Secure: Additional security features and security-aware development

        Supported by our user community, and fully non-profit

        Familiar, efficient, fully customizable interface

        Support for full themes: total freedom over any element's design

        Support for easily-created lightweight themes (skins)

        Smooth and speedy page drawing and script processing

        Increased stability: experience fewer browser crashes

        Support for many Firefox extensions

        Support for a growing number of Pale Moon exclusive extensions

        Extensive and growing support for existing web standards

        Many customization and configuration options

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So now they know how it feels ...

    Many many years ago I worked on the first releases of OS/2. For those who don't know that now archaic OS it provided a real-mode DOS box as well as a number of protect-mode sessions. This was a joint project between IBM and MS and the stated intention was that the DOS box would run a version of windows. Unfortunately every time we got it running properly MS made changes which caused it to fail.

    Eventually the partnership fell apart but a lot of the tech made it into windows NT, including the MS HPFS file system which was heavily based on the OS/2 FS.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: So now they know how it feels ...

      OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully. This was because IBM licensed the source code from MS, so Windows on OS/2 was perfectly legitimatel.

      I can remember articles about this, including one where the first thing IBM did was compile the code, just to see if they’d got everything. And they had, it worked just fine. However, because they’d used the Watcom compiler instead of the MS compiler, it ran quicker...

      The real barriers to this being taken further was when MS started putting 32bit code in. The address space layout they went for required 2GB of virtual address space (note, not an actual 2GB of ram), whereas OS/2 was stuck with a maximum of 512MB per process. Can’t really blame MS for that.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        "OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully"

        Most of the times, yes. But I had several issues running Borland Delphi 1 (a Win 3.1 application) on Warp. I don't know if it was because Delphi did something weird or undocumented, but it didn't work properly. Eventually I had to switch to Win95 to run it - regretting some of the OS/2 features and speed.

        IIRC Win95 already required the full 4GB virtual address space for 32 bit applications - where the lower 2GB were used for application code and data - but system DLLs and other OS data were already mapped into the upper 2GB. As virtual addresses are fully separated per processes, there's little reason to curb them - unless OS/2 too had some constraints (or leftovers) because of plans to target different CPU architectures.

        1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

          Re: "OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully"

          Delphi was notoriously non-OS/2able. Didtant memory, but I think it used some sort of address space extension which didn't play nice.

          1. Colin Wilson 2

            Re: "OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully"

            Kind of. The original Delphi used a Thunk table to find the object instatnce for a Window. Later versoins used/use the regular GetProp/SetProp Windows APIs for this

            I'm guessing they used a Thunk table because much of Delphi was inherited from Borland Pascal - which had a pre-Windows API window library - OWL - which also used Thunks.

            The Thunk tables were very architecure dependant, and didn't work too well with Warp...

        2. ROC

          Re: "OS/2 did run Windows 3 quite successfully"

          How is it then, that I could not get W98 to run on PC's with 512MB, or more, of RAM? Seems that there was some special patch needed for that?

      2. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: So now they know how it feels ...

        The story from inside IBM - I was an OS/2 user for years - was that when W95 came out, IBM engineers had 32-bit windows applications running inside OS/2 within a few weeks. However, it depended on stuff from the joint development phase which MS hadn't licensed, and never would, for release.

        My ideal OS would still be a cross between OS/2 and BeOS.

  8. JohnFen Silver badge

    I agree

    There is a mountain of bad things Google does that we can point to as examples of why it's a terrible company. But this particular accusation is so weak that it can only be called "speculation". In the absence of more solid evidence, I'm inclined to disregard this.

  9. Jerry H. Appel

    Old boss same as the new boss

    Time for a cliche, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

    1. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Old boss same as the new boss

      Great browsers are almost always bad browsers?

      Apologies to John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Old boss same as the new boss

      Old boss same as the new boss

      Time for a cliche, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

      I always thought Frank Herberts adjusted version of that Dalberg-Acton quote (in God Emperor of Dune. I think)

      ”Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.”

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: Old boss same as the new boss

        @Teiwaz

        Old boss same as the new boss

        Time for a cliche, Absolute Power corrupts absolutely.

        I always thought Frank Herberts adjusted version of that Dalberg-Acton quote (in God Emperor of Dune. I think)

        ”Absolute power does not corrupt absolutely, absolute power attracts the corruptible.”

        "And this is why lifetime politicians should not hold upper level offices."

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old boss same as the new boss

      Isn't the saying "Power corrupts, and absolute power is even nicer..." ?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS can't even make their own website work with their own browsers!

    I frequently install Win 7 VMs for software testing.

    The HTTP components are no longer supported by windows update, so I have to update IE.

    MS's own site won't work with the Win 7 shipped IE to let me download a later IE!

    I have to use the shipped IE to download Chrome.

    Then use Chrome to visit MS's own site to download the offline IE11 install.

    Once that's installed, I can get updates installed.

    (yeah, I know, I've taken a snapshot now!)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS can't even make their own website work with their own browsers!

      I frequently install an ancient OS.

      It's not currently supported.

      I make a big song and dance out of it.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: MS can't even make their own website work with their own browsers!

        @a/c >>>It's not currently supported.<<<

        Win 7 extended support still has a year of life left. It will end on 14 Jan 2020 & is still in use by an awfully large % of the business world that avoided the 'free' upgrade.

    2. verno

      Re: MS can't even make their own website work with their own browsers!

      You could use offline WSUS as well, that updates IE quite nicely!

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Pot meet Kettle?

    If you check the HTML5 support at HTML5test.com the browser with the best support is Chrome followed closely by the Chromium based browsers. Firefox and Edge are very good while Safari and Imbecile Explorer suck. I have researched what features are not implemented in Firefox and Edge but if a site implemented an HTML5 feature they do not currently support part of the problem is with the providers with some blame to web designer for using a poorly supported feature. Given the report is from an intern who probably does not even know that no browser fully implements HTML5 support yet I think this report can be safely flushed done the porcelain throne.

  12. Graham Dawson

    While the particular claims are unverified, I've only has to compare the performance and features of various Google products on Chrome and Firefox or edge to see the reality. YouTube on Chrome has lively animated thumbnails on mouseover, for instance, that don't appear in other browsers. And just try turning on drive's offline document editing and storage in Firefox.

  13. DrowningCatsIsFun

    Maybe Google can reform as Microsoft have

    Acts 3:19 Repent, then, and turn back, so that your sins, like your arse may be wiped

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot meet kettle, MS of course never engaged in anything like that with undocumented APIs and so forth.

  15. tiggity Silver badge

    Mozilla

    Chris Beard said some nice things but sadly Mozilla seems more keen to ape Chrome rather than compete, the unique differentiating factors in favour of Mozilla get fewer each release, proper competition is not becoming a clone of the market leader but by offering something different .

    .. Yes I am still seething about switch to webextensions and no support for all the most useful and powerful addons

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Mozilla

      Waterfox still allows the old XUL and jetpack extensions along with the new web extensions.

      I assume one day this will come to an end when something huge is removed in Firefox that the guy behind Waterfox can't maintain on his own, but for the moment it works.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: Mozilla

        "but for the moment it works"

        ...for modest amounts of "works". I did try it and some of the legacy stuff seems to be working indeed, but two out of the two extensions I had pinned on my toolbar work either erratically or not at all.

      2. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Mozilla

        Yes, Waterfox pretty much rules. For my use cases, it's the best browser I've found and is my refuge until I can find a better one. If the day comes that Waterfox can no longer keep pace (or it drops XUL support), then I'll just keep using an older version until I can find a suitable replacement.

  16. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Google is Evil

    Just like Microsoft

    Just like Amazon

    Just like Apple

    Just like Twitter

    Just like Facebook

    Just like...

    Is any company in this day and age not evil data slurping standards bending barstewards?

    {probably not}

  17. naive

    Instead of whining, maybe MS could start fixing Edge, so it does not happen.

    It all sounds kind of implausible. Hearing these complaints from MS, who has been terrorizing the Web for decades with its FUD about linux, insecure and instable products, should make everyone laugh who is old enough to have been around then.

    Everything is about money, and there are no Saints in this game. Since HTML5 is a standard, which should be implemented by all browsers, it is questionable how far it is actually a misconduct to try to find area's where certain browsers have issues in their HTML5 implementation. If google would do this, it looks more like kind of harassment.

    Instead of whining, maybe MS could start fixing Edge, so it does not happen.

  18. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The Edge rendering engine must be a bit sh1tty if one empty DIV slows it down that much on a Youtube page that MS are complaining about it?

    I use both Firefox and Chrome on a daily basis and so I assume that Firefox would have the same issue as Edge, in that it wouldn't know how to handle the empty DIV element and would be noticably slower to load Youtube compared to Chrome.

    Yet If I load up the same Youtube video in both FF and Chrome browsers I hardly notice any difference in the page loading speeds. I Haven't tested Youtube speed in Edge because my daily PC runs Linux and my only Windows machine was borked by the last Windows 10 feature update which I haven't had chance to fix yet. But I am sure someone else can perform a test and see what MS are crying about.

    What makes MS think that switching to Chromium HTML renderer is going to fix this problem anyway? If Google are deliberately breaking other browsers and fixing Chrome, they could do still do this even if MS are using Chromium for Edge. Yes Chrome and Chromium share a code base but Chrome could have extra bits added which aren't present in Chromium.

  19. Hugh Jarce
    Headmaster

    Purposeful != Deliberate

    I know, I know, language is whatever is used by people. But wouldn't it be useful to maintain the distinction between similar words rather than trying to make them entirely equivalent? Yes, 'purposeful' can mean doing something intentionally, but that isn't its primary meaning. Purposeful: doing something with determination or resolve. Perhaps 'deliberate' would serve better: doing something consciously and with intent.

    Bah! Grumble. And it's bloody Christmas in a few days. Humph.

    1. Geriant

      Re: Purposeful != Deliberate

      You could just write "purposely", which would do the job nicely. But, when it's trendy to use shit(ty) English there's not much that can be done about it.

      I'll consult my dictionary momentarily while careening wildly down a hill, then get back to normalcy.

  20. Milton Silver badge

    Means, Motive, Suspicion

    I have no idea whether the allegation is true, but it's a bit like the recent story about purported Chinese micro-espionage chips secrely squatting inside motherboards: it checks the Motive and Means boxes and leaves you thinking that if the Evildoer in question isn't guilty, it's probably an oversight on their part

    The Chinese government is evil and has both the Motive and the Means to sneak incredibly tiny spychips into kit produced by its tame companies, so it would be reamrkable if it had not been done. It certainly will be, if the rewards are tempting enough. (Hell, you could hide a powerful chip inside an electroclytic capacitor these days; and it won't be long before you can incorporate a useful spy into a component's leads.)

    Likewise Google is evil, as large corporates tend to become ("He who loves money can love nothing else", one of humanity's tragic weaknesses along with "Those who crave power are the least fit to wield it") and certainly has both Motive and Means to unfairly, amorally and even criminally disrupt and exploit rivals and customers. So it will, whenever it thinks it can get away with it. Perhaps especially so as pressure grows on it and other privacy-raping entities like Facebook, whose unbridled gree— shareholder value depends so much on exploiting users.

    If you think div-bombing web pages is a bit too obvious, look for something that might be done by a Google lickspittle whose cunning and greed exceeds his ethics ... and you'll surely be rewarded.

    A minority, I hope, but they exist everywhere: Befehl ist Befehl. I applaud the Googletrogs who have protested about the Chinese gambit, but the fundamental problem is that Google will have no shortage of developers who will take the cash and think it's ok to help a murderous authoritarian regime oppress its citizens. Perhaps the people working on such a heinous venture should be named and shamed?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Karma's a b1tch

    "Oslo, Norway - Feb 14, 2003

    Two weeks ago it was revealed that Microsoft's MSN portal targeted Opera users, by purposely providing them with a broken page. As a reply to MSN's treatment of its users, Opera Software today released a very special Bork edition of its Opera 7 for Windows browser. The Bork edition behaves differently on one Web site: MSN. Users accessing the MSN site will see the page transformed into the language of the famous Swedish Chef from the Muppet Show: Bork, Bork, Bork!"

    http://www.operasoftware.com/press/releases/desktop/opera-releases-bork-edition

    Microsoft, always have, and always will take evil to new levels.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      "Microsoft, always have, and always will take evil to new levels"

      Lately, those new levers look to be aimed at its own customers.... MS had to desist from many of its evil operations since it was caught into antitrust rulings. Who cares about the MSN portal these days?

      Yet Google is working hard to be the evil master, as long as Facebooks isn't caught in doing something worse.

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Karma's a b1tch

      Never attribute to Malice anything that can be achieved with Incompetence ... while I would not say this to defend Google, if you are running a currently supported version of Windows 7 Professional and follow Microsoft's own link in Control Panel System Settings to "Get More Features..." or upgrade then you get a message that your browser is out of date - no upgrade for you.

  22. Dave 15 Silver badge

    fault tolerance

    Would be good if people created browsers that coped with malformed or even plain incorrect html as some is still hand edited.

    However Microsoft complaining about anything after inflicting windows 10 on people is rich.

    I have a windows 10 box, it spends ALL its time with the processor flat out at 100% because it includes the idle task in the %use. Even if you discount that it is running at 90´+% and is less responsive than a dead parrot.

    Worse even when you have the patience to endure an entire dinner while it gets itself ready you will find skype has decided it cant make a call because it has no internet despite the internet icon saying internet is present and browsers managing to get live pages. The only option is to use task manager (another long long long pause while it uses the availalbe 0.000001% of the processor left to start as it appears to have no priority) and kill the whole skype process tree. Even then it appears you sometimes have to sleep and wake the machine again.

    Frankly those in Microsoft responsible for the releases of the last 5 years should be given a one way ticket to the sun, they are genuinely not fit to scrup the shit out of a dogs toilet.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My beloved employer - a major university - still has a substantial number of critical applications which only run on IE6 (sic). The people who wrote them are long gone, documentation is non-existent and running them depends on RDP to access increasingly flakey virtual machines. We're fucked, basically.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      You'd think that a major university would have the funds to hire a contractor to fix their shit.

    2. illiad

      Most universities DO NOT have the cash - and most likely the people in charge have no clue either, with the IT dept having no right to do 'proper' things, due to policy made by managers!!

  24. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    One div?

    The netizen, Joshua Bakita, gave as "just one example" the appearance of a seemingly useless empty HTML div tag in YouTube videos that had the effect of slowing down the Edge browser. According to the intern, that tag caused "our hardware acceleration fast-path to bail" with the result that the browser's speed advantage over Google's Chrome disappeared.

    Yeah... I'm guessing that this is a bug in Edge. It seems both sides forgot to go into Postel mode - "be conservative in what you send, be liberal in what you accept*".

    * or words to that effect, anyway: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robustness_principle

  25. hellwig Silver badge

    This is just an HTML5 problem.

    Remember how poorly every browser performed on the early HTML5 compatibility tests, and how EDGE was actually released touting it's HTML5 performance (while still lacking extensions and whatnot)?

    Sounds like this is just something HTML5 supports that is hard to anticipate or work around.

    Now, maybe Google did this on purpose, or maybe not (I read a blog post where someone had to lay an empty div over a video player to work around issues with IE, so it sounds like it's still Microsoft's fault). But if HTML5 allows it, only the HTML governing body is at fault here.

  26. Bladeforce

    Awww boo hoo Microsoft..now lets talk about moving the goalposts in your office suite

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Much too dismissive of the intern.

    "noting "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."

    It's clear that that is very far from a credible allegation."

    "Very far"?! Not at all. It gains credibility because the person said he himself was not convinced, but that his co-workers who investigated it were "quite convinced". That makes it a credible allegation. But even if you don't think so, it's close to being one, not *very far* from it!

    Plus, given Google's history, especially its role in invading users' privacy and installing tracking cookies on people's machines and devices without their explicit permission, it makes sense that would do something like this.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      "That makes it a credible allegation."

      We have different definitions of "credible" then. "Here's an opinion that someone told me" is not a credible allegation. it would be more credible if those other people made the allegations themselves and offered some evidence to support it.

      "it makes sense that would do something like this."

      I agree, but that makes the allegation plausible, not credible.

  28. RobThBay

    Google's AMP wrapper

    I started seeing website rendering problems when a non-google browser was following links provided by google search. A lot of the links were wrapped in something Google was calling Amp. The problems disappeared after updates were released for those other browsers.

    Google was claiming that wrapping results in their Amp tech improved the world (or something like that). Maybe they meant it improved their world.

    AMP was why I switched to duckduckgo for searches.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Google's AMP wrapper

      "AMP was why I switched to duckduckgo for searches."

      Yes, AMP is a plague. DDG a cure.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Google's AMP wrapper

        Just don't use DDG's "news" tab. You'll get those damned AMP links there, even if you're not on mobile.

  29. YARR
    Mushroom

    Will MS drop IE too?

    In a way, dropping Edge makes sense for MS, as there's little point maintaining two different web browsers. If Edge was born as a cut-down version of IE, but failed to gain traction in it's intended market (mobile devices), it's engine and unique UI features can be rolled back into IE to unite MS's desktop browser market share. If they wait 'til after Google have switched to Shadow DOM v1, the Edge engine ought to still work for Google sites.

    Should Google continue making their sites incompatible with other browsers, a future IE could include a Chromium rendering engine for Google's sites, and use the Edge engine for everything else. Relying on the Chromium engine outright would give Google the opportunity to screw up MS web apps. OTOH MS could embrace and extend the Chromium codebase and start causing Google some headaches!

    1. Strahd Ivarius

      Re: Will MS drop IE too?

      You know that on Windows 10 you can uninstall IE 11, do you?

      (even if you get a BIG warning that you may break something doing so...)

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Will MS drop IE too?

      "In a way, dropping Edge makes sense for MS, as there's little point maintaining two different web browsers."

      I thought that Microsoft's plan was to ultimately drop IE and replace it with Edge.

    3. Carpet Deal 'em
      Facepalm

      Re: Will MS drop IE too?

      Internet Explorer is in Windows for legacy compatibility(many corporate web apps depend on the peculiarities of one version or another). Edge was created because there was pretty much no room to implement modern web features without breaking something; it's nothing more than a nice-to-have, so it can be dropped without issue.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just because no one else has mentioned it, MS also deliberately broke the Novell Client software used to log Windows PC's into a Novell Network back in the late 90's and early 2000's. A number of organizations were so worn down by it that they transitioned to using Windows for F&P and AD well before it was remotely comparable to Novell as a network OS. Just one undocumented "feature" after another would break the connectivity at critical moments.

    Kind of Karma catching up if this is true - and I have little doubt that not only would Google do this if it could, but Google is already doing so because it can. And because the donate large sums to an appropriate array of politicians they are essentially immune from prosecution as long as they keep a figleaf of "plausible deniability".

  31. EveryTime Silver badge

    Echoing spurious accusation from a former intern is not the same as researching a story.

    There are lots of reasons for having an empty element, from inefficient automatic generation to later overwriting. It's a major stretch to claim that it was done deliberately.

  32. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Oooh! Arrrrgh! Gnnnargh!

    Hang on, this whole "break Youtube" idea is nuts. Google is monetized by the ads served up through Youtube. There is absolutely nil incentive to "break" browsers.

    Also, on mobile platforms don't most people view Youtube content on the Youtube app?

    Aren't we being a tad paranoid, suggesting that Google shoot their business model in the foot to push a browser choice?

  33. cdrcat

    Occam's razor

    Edge doesn't work properly with my code either (I continue to support my own proprietary 10 year old front end library).

    Edge is a broken, crappy, pile of turds - just one of the reasons they are throwing it out. I have submitted *many* carefully documented bug reports about IE, their phone browser, and Edge to Microsoft over the years. They don't fix them and from my POV they don't give a shit.

    Also tying Edge uodates to Windows updates means they have zero velocity to fix bugs.

    Not saying Google are innocent, I'm just saying that supporting Edge *sucks* and I can totally believe Microsoft are willing to blame a third party instead of fixing their own bugs.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Has he looked at a "modern" Web page?

    There is so much crap embedded in html that complaining about an empty tag is just stupid.

    (Redefining the font, and back again, just because there might have been text in there at some point in the editing history! )

  35. Oh Homer Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "We compete with Google"

    Said the company that, until 2011, and again since 2017, is almost entirely funded by Google.

  36. joekhul

    Holy Effing Wow

    Another Googly hit piece from the freetard morons at El Reg. What I want to know is why is anything this idiotic freetard 'writer' is whining about conisdered 'news'. Then as usual, i come to the comments to see the Freetard loving masses calling for the death of any company that strives to make a buck.

    Here is news for you idiots including the writer. You don't like a company, don't use their products!

  37. David 164 Bronze badge

    What the intern really saying is that Microsoft Edge was so poorly built that a single empty Div is able to bring it to it needs.

  38. Vehlin

    I can't comment on this particular case, but Google have in the past been observed to be intentionally crippling its sites on IE and Edge. I had a Windows phone running 8.1 and if you browsed Gmail or GMaps you got something that looked straight out of the web 2.0 days. It looked nothing like the version that you'd see on Android. However, if you swapped the useragent to that of Chrome the site rendered just fine.

    If they were happy to break the functionality of their sites on Windows Mobile then I'd quite readily believe they'll try other dirty tricks.

  39. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Edge LOL

    MS rents a room where I work to run O365 training. Guess what browser they use? Hint: not edge. They use Chrome and specifically ask for it to be installed as default.

    1. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
      Meh

      Re: Edge LOL

      "MS rents a room where I work to run O365 training. Guess what browser they use? Hint: not edge. They use Chrome and specifically ask for it to be installed as default."

      Yeah, we know:

      Report: Microsoft is scrapping Edge, switching to just another Chrome clone

      https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/report-microsoft-is-scrapping-edge-switching-to-just-another-chrome-clone/

      Edge dies a death of a thousand cuts as Microsoft switches to Chromium

      https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/post-mortem-tying-edge-to-windows-10-was-a-fatal-error/

      As reported earlier this week, Microsoft is going to use Google's Blink rendering engine and V8 JavaScript engine in its Edge browser, largely ending development of its own EdgeHTML rendering engine and Chakra JavaScript engine. This means that Microsoft will be using code from—and making contributions to—the Chromium open source project.

      And what is Google's 'Blink' rendering engine? It's a branch off WebKit, née Konqueror.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Konqueror

  40. sammy_mac

    On the importance of diversified infrastructure

    >>"From a social, civic and individual empowerment perspective ceding control of fundamental online infrastructure to a single company is terrible.

    >>This is why Mozilla exists."

    This gets to my biggest beef with Google and Mozilla. Mozilla abandoned Thunderbird, which gave fantastic control over mail sorting and user control. Gmail as a mail client sucks to a degree that cannot be overstated. I have yet to find an e-mail client that comes as close to giving me the control in Thunderbird, yet Thunderbird seems to be having reliability issues and there's no sign of anything like it on mobile.

    As for browsers, the topic at hand, I do spend time between Chrome, Firefox, and Rekonq. Chrome's performance looks a bit so-so to me, though I would become a die-hard Rekonq user if the development team would take a look at some issues with how some webpages come up. Probably my main beef with Firefox is that it reminds me of Mozilla ditching Thunderbird.

  41. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Yes, Google Is.

    I've complained directly to Google about it. They don't care.

    Mess: YouTube using Apple Safari. The result is as if a blithering idiot took over web coding at YouTube. This reflects poorly on Google. I don't use Chrome, if I can help it. Having had to out-think geek blundering for decades, I've developed my own workarounds for Google's deliberate sabotage. No, I'm not sharing.

    GOOOOFLE

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