There was a time when Microsoft was willing to die on that browser hill, locking horns with EU antitrust regulators to protect Internet Explorer and its role within the Windows operating system.
But those days are long gone – so much so, in fact, that Microsoft has gotten rid of Internet Explorer, that used to be built on top of its own proprietary Trident rendering engine, replacing it with a new product, called Microsoft Edge. Initially, Edge was also built on a Microsoft-developed engine, but now a new iteration of the software sits on top of Google's open-source Chromium project (the progenitor of Chrome itself) and uses Google's Blink and V8 engines.
This is an important point to help understand what happens later in this story – at the beginning of which, Google rolled out a YouTube redesign – and it happens to be one that “classic” Microsoft Edge cannot display properly.
These two members of the Big Tech club are direct competitors on many fronts, with browsers probably being the least of Google's worries – given Google Chrome's market dominance. But, it turns out that given half a chance, Google will use it to get punitive on Microsoft and its users.
And now with the YouTube redesign – let the games begin.
Zac Bowden – senior editor at Windows Central tweeted the following:
Great. YouTube now no longer works with the new Edge. You get this message, asking you to download Chrome, or you have to revert to the old YouTube design. pic.twitter.com/gsxi50IEtr
— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) May 28, 2019
Bowden expressed his concern that, with the new Microsoft Edge, YouTube has locked down the site so that it's not supported on the Edge browser.
Those using “old” Edge and trying to access the new layout, optimized for performance, get two messages from Google: “Your browser is not supported,” and – “Get Google Chrome.”
Good news for Edge users is they can still use the old design. And they can also use the new, Chromium-based Edge, after changing the user agent. This is a little involved? Perhaps, but that's the best Google is willing to give them at this point.
In a way, Microsoft, whose status has been built on decades of ruthless stomping out of competition, is getting a taste of its own medicine here – but two wrong don't make a right.
Sometimes inconsistent rendering of websites across browsers has to do with web standards, but sometimes, as in the case of the obstacles Google has apparently been putting in Firefox's path for years – the expression “sabotaging competition” seems more likely to be used.