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Former Mozilla executive: Google repeatedly stabbed us in the back

Mozilla and Google's relationship soon soured.

is once again being strongly criticized by Mozilla Firefox’s executives, accusing the big G of conspiring against the rival company.

According to a recent tweet by Johnathan Nightingale, a former Firefox executive, Google has used every possible strategy to achieve its status as the most diffused web browser in the world, including sabotage.

It is not the first time (and probably it will not be the last) that Mountain View’s giant faces some such accusation: In July 2018 another of Mozilla’s executives declared that Google had been deliberately slowing down performance on Firefox, by switching to unsupported Javascript libraries.

The most recent accusations, tweeted by Nightingale, speak of a plot started in 2007 at a time when the two companies were still cooperating. Back in those days many of Google’s employees were Firefox fans but, as the executive explains, the friendliness of an employee (or a few) cannot be representative of the behavior of a company. “They were building an empire on the web” follows Nightingale. And the empire was built, with Google dominating on 60% of the market, leaving others with the breadcrumbs.

According to the executive, strange bugs started to appear since the early days of Chrome. Gmail and Google docs started to have selective bugs and performance issues when accessed through Firefox. Demo-websites appeared unsupported. When asked for explanations, Google replied that they where oopsies, fixable in a couple of weeks. And the story went on and on, with hundreds of oops at a time, always coming with the same excuses.

“I’m all for ‘don’t attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence’ but I don’t believe Google is that incompetent. I think they were running out the clock. We lost users during every oops. And we spent effort and frustration every clock tick on that instead of improving our product” Nightingale said.

Given the facts and the multiple accusations, the story seems plausible. These blows below the belt are common in business, and not illicit. The war for search engine hegemony has, at least for the moment, its heavy-weight – trick-savvy veteran.

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