2 min

Tags in this article

, , ,

A former Mozilla CEO, the organization behind the Firefox browser, accuses Google of deliberately and systematically sabotaging Firefox to increase Chrome’s adoption. That’s what ZDNet writes.

When I joined Mozilla in 2007, there was no Google Chrome and most of the people we talked to within [Google] were Firefox fans, tweeted Johnathan Nightingale, former head of the Firefox group within Mozilla, last weekend. He continued with a thread of a few tweets to show how this collaboration became more and more problematic since the launch of Chrome:

When Chrome was launched, it got complicated, but not in the way you’d expect. They now had a competitive product, but they have not broken tires, our search deal broke nothing like that. In fact, the story we kept hearing was, “We’re on the same side. We want the same things. (Tweet)

I think our friends on Google sincerely believed that. At the individual level, their technicians cared about many of the same things as us. Their product and design staff have made many similar decisions and we’ve learned from looking at each other. (tweet)

Oops after oops

But Google as a whole is very different from individual googlers, Nightingale notes. He describes how ads for Google Chrome began to appear alongside Firefox search terms, Gmail and Google Docs began to experience certain performance issues and bugs on Firefox, and demos falsely blocked Firefox as incompatible.

These are all things you can do to compete, of course. But we were still a search partner, so we had this kind of thing happening? And every time they said, “Oops. That was an accident. We’ll fix it in the next push within 2 weeks. (Tweet)

One oops after another. Dozens, maybe hundreds of times, according to Nightingale. I’m in favour of not attributing to malicious intent what can be explained by incompetence, but I don’t believe that Google is that incompetent. With every problem that arose, Firefox saw users leave. Moreover, time invested in solving problems could not be invested in improving the product.

Not the first accusation

Nightingale is not the first (ex-)Firefox employee with such accusations against Google. Chris Peterson, Program Manager at Mozilla, complained last summer that Google would deliberately slow down YouTube on Firefox, making the user experience less good than on Chrome. According to Peterson, Firefox and Edge were initially superior at loading YouTube videos, and then Google switched to a new JavaScript library that it knew Firefox didn’t support.

Similar suspicions have already come to the attention of Google from the Microsoft Edge camp. Microsoft has meanwhile decided to move its Edge browser to Google’s open source Chromium engine. A decision that was regretted by Mozilla because it would give Google even more control over the web. Since last week the first test versions of Chromium Edge are publicly available.

Related: Mozilla: Microsoft gives Google more control over the Internet

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.