Competition concern over Microsoft's decision to use Google web technology

Firefox maker Mozilla is concerned that the move will put more power in the hands of Google.

Microsoft is handing over control of people’s online life to Google, leading rival Mozilla has claimed following news that the tech giant is to drop its own web browser technology for Google’s.

Concerns have been raised about the competition of web browsers, after Microsoft announced that its Edge product will adopt Chromium, a Google-run platform behind the popular Chrome browser.

Mozilla, whose Firefox offering is among the world’s top three web browsers, believes that the change could undermine the independence of the internet by providing Google with even greater power.

“Microsoft’s decision gives Google more ability to single-handedly decide what possibilities are available to each one of us,” the company said.

“Google’s dominance across search, advertising, smartphones, and data capture creates a vastly tilted playing field that works against the rest of us.”

Web browsers
(Yui Mok/PA)

The move means that Microsoft will be giving up on its own EdgeHTML infrastructure powering its Edge web browser, which was launched with Windows 10 in July 2015 as a future replacement for Internet Explorer. However, Edge has failed to emulate the early success of its predecessor, trailing behind Google Chrome.

Microsoft hopes that it will not only be able to attract new users on Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac with a broader rollout of Edge, but also that web pages will be more stable, as web developers will have one less model to adapt their websites to. Mozilla is worried this could mean that web developers decide not to focus on optimising websites for other web browsers, such as its own.

Firefox web browser

“Will Microsoft’s decision make it harder for Firefox to prosper? It could,” Mozilla continued.

“If one product like Chromium has enough market share, then it becomes easier for web developers and businesses to decide not to worry if their services and sites work with anything other than Chromium.”

Though users of Edge will not notice any visual differences on the surface, preview builds of the new software will be available to test in early 2019.

Google welcomed Microsoft’s announcement, saying: “Chrome has been a champion of the open web since inception and we welcome Microsoft to the community of Chromium contributors.

“We look forward to working with Microsoft and the web standards community to advance the open web, present users with more choice and deliver great browsing experiences.”

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