Tetzchner's comments on Edge switch to Chromium

  • Is it just me, or is this just a little bit hypocritical, given he switched Opera from its own renderer (Presto) to Blink/Chromium, and of course Vivaldi has been Chromium from day one.


    Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder of Opera and CEO of Vivaldi, was equally pessimistic about what Microsoft's decision means for the web.

    "This is certainly not encouraging as competition is good for the Web," von Tetzchner said in an email to ZDNet.

    "Microsoft has lost the battle with Chrome, just like they lost the battle with the web in the past. The next move probably is going to be to attempt embrace, extend, extinguish as this has worked for them before.

    "As Microsoft is on a losing battleground, this is likely an example of them wanting control. These are interesting times for browsers and we have to see how this evolves."

  • Moderator

    @fred8615 No. He didn't make that switch. The new Opera management made that switch after he left the company. One of the reasons he left was that investors who had obtained what amounted to a controlling share of the company refused to spend enough to hire a big enough team to keep Presto viable. They wanted to make the company "lean and mean" so that they could maximize their profits selling it off.

  • Not really. Lets see, first Microsoft is huge, they are the biggest software company in the world. They have the resources to build and maintain their own rendering engine. Vivaldi does not. It's a rather small company.

    Second. Opera was not Tetzchner property to do as he wishes. He was just part of that company. Opera, the company, was selfish in regards that they decided to kill Opera Presto and not release the source code to the public as open source. Not sure why, maybe license agreements they made with previous companies like Nintendo that still don't expire, or maybe because they don't want a product that competes with Opera Blink or maybe they think its has some value in terms of property and can be sold or used in the future. This last one is very unlikely already because any browser engine that is not developed anymore for a few years would require work to get up to date in terms of standards. So at this point I don't think Presto would be compatible with most web apps. Still, the thing is that Presto is not open source. Vivaldi can just take it and use it because its not their property.

    So in reality they only had 2 choices. Gecko or Chromium and since everyone is using Chromium and Mozilla is constantly re-writing their stuff and a major re-write is coming again, it means the only real choice was mostly Chromium. Its not that Vivaldi really had a choice here. While Edge on Android works very well I'm very sad by this announcement from Microsoft.

    This is not good for web developers or the Internet in general. Its means Firefox will almost very likely die. It already has a tiny market share but this is the last straw that will kill them. And a web on which things only work on the Blink HTML engine and v8 JS engine is bad. We are going back to IE 6 times. Web developers will just test their apps for Chrome and that's it. Anything else will not work correctly. And this also allows those companies to come together in terms of global dominance. Just think here that if Microsoft and Google agree to drop a specific standard or technology worldwide, on the whole Internet, they will be able to do exactly this. All they have to do is remove support on Chromium, just like Google pushed the insecure message on non HTTPS domains, or removed the option for people to click on the address to see a certificate or decided to hide the protocol. Don't be fooled by all this. Google also planned to eventually remove the whole URL, they are not interested on people accessing other properties directly with a browser, they rather prefer browsers to have no address bar and just default to Google for everything.

    Microsoft is just embracing what works. They want a market. Just like they are releasing Android apps, they just want mobile users to avoid being left out. Once they have those users they will do just like Google did with Android, start to back pedal in all the open source/openness and try to pull users into their services and platforms. In order for companies to keep users they need to be unique. How do you think those companies are going to be compete with each other if they use the same underlying technology? With their remote cloud services. Microsoft will use Windows and Azure, Google will use YouTube, their Search engine, Gmail and Android.

    The browser is just a gateway to their services and they will build more and more of their own services into browsers to try to attract visitors into their platforms. In the end, what browsers will become is an horrible reality. Edge will be a Microsoft branded browser and Chrome already is a Google browser that wants users to log into Google. This is horrible for the Internet and a neutral place on which everyone can compete at the same level. A browser should let users browse the Internet without being picky about specific services or websites. Just like Google makes Youtube to be more incompatible with other browsers to force users to switch to Chrome, Microsoft could do the same in the future.

    On the short time, this is great for Vivaldi, as they are going to receive a new major contributor to Chromium. Microsoft will most likely add things that make it more secure, more light and some nice touch features. On the long run, this is very bad for Vivaldi as Microsoft starts to copy features from Vivaldi, something Chrome can also do. Since Chrome and Edge will only be different based on the GUI and user interface features, Microsoft will have to add more stuff or newer things that Chrome does not have, and the other way around. Firefox at least still has something unique, the rendering engine both for HTML and JavaScript. Vivaldi is just a wrapper over Chromium, more or less exactly the same Microsoft is going to do with Edge. Its all about control for Microsoft, cloning Chrome and just putting links and buttons back to the Windows/MS store or Bing as default is more than enough for them (for now).

    Vivaldi also has no mobile browser, while Microsoft has Edge (based on Chrome) and it works relative well. Unless something big happens, like Presto going open source, or Vivaldi integrating also Gecko or more technologies it will be hard for them. Maybe that is not even a bad idea. Run both engines, Chromium and Gecko under the hook. Let users select which one to use, or even automatically select one based on the website they visit. I mean, Vivaldi must come up with something more unique than just a fancy GUI with more features. Also, even Opera has an advantage over Vivaldi, they are using native OS code, this means its more snappy. I would still not trust Opera since its Chinese based now... But if one thing Vivaldi is still worse than other browsers is that is not as responsive and fast as other alternatives when it comes to opening new tabs, windows, moving them around, etc. This is expected since its using web technologies instead of native operating system code.

    If I was with Vivaldi, I would seriously consider to add something under the hood as well, not just GUI stuff. Something that makes it more secure, or more unique or more special. The switching engine on the fly idea is not even a bad idea. There is no reason why they can't use the same GUI for another rendering engine, and let users switch on the fly with a button. This would also maybe boost Gecko a bit and not let Mozilla die entirely. This could also mean new use cases, like using Gecko for some sites but Chromium in another tab for another web apps. I mean, some browsers did this in the past and it was not an entirely bad idea, having more than one rendering engine. More useful for developers in particular.

    If one thing I'm 100% sure, this will affect Vivaldi user base. Why? The main reason people don't use Edge is mainly instability and buggy on some sites. By switching to Chromium Microsoft solves all that. And its not going to have all the Google spyware, Microsoft is a bit more respectful in that regards since its more targeted towards enterprises/governments. So it will be Chrome without Google and since it will work in tandem with their mobile browser (which Vivaldi has no product...), a lot of users are going to switch to Edge. Even more if its more responsive in terms of GUI, and Edge will also be cross platform per Microsoft announcement, so its coming to Mac and eventually to Linux, no reason why not, since its based on Chromium anyway. Its even coming to Windows 7. The migration will probably start slowly next year, but before one year of this post Edge will more likely already be completely running under Chromium. I give it 6 months since Microsoft also wants to deploy Windows on ARM.

    I also suspect the move is part of a bigger secret. Microsoft is going to launch a new mobile platform. I suspect something...Its going to be a mix of Windows with a deep Android emulator or integration. So users can run Android apps on Windows. This will come with their own unique hardware they are going to launch, more likely a foldable phone/tablet. They need ARM compatibility for this, something already done on Windows but they also need the browser to work , which is the point of using Chromium for the browser.

  • Moderator

    @terere said in Tetzchner's comments on Edge switch to Chromium:

    Opera was not Tetzchner property to do as he wishes. He was just part of that company.

    In the end, yes. He and Geir Iversoy founded the company and originally it belonged only to them. Geir passed away. Jon made the mistake of going public and attracting investors, who contributed enough capital to effectively shoulder him out. He was no longer in control, and the investors wanted a company they could sell, not one that would be loyal to its customer base. And that was that.

    He has said he will never take investor money for Vivaldi. He has learned his lesson.

  • @Ayespy said in Tetzchner's comments on Edge switch to Chromium:

    @fred8615 No. He didn't make that switch. The new Opera management made that switch after he left the company.

    I stand corrected on that point.

  • Thread moved from All Platforms to a more appropriate place for a discussion about browsers.

  • @fred8615 said in Tetzchner's comments on Edge switch to Chromium:

    Is it just me, or is this just a little bit hypocritical

    What's really hypocritical is Microsoft's concern for standards considering the whole Internet Explorer history.


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