Google and Microsoft have a history of not exactly being on the most amicable of terms. Like any good technology company, they’ve reluctantly worked and existed within the same sphere together, but that’s about the gist of it. There’s no love lost between them. That’s why when Google began redirecting Windows Phone users to the homepage rather than Google Maps, folks were quick to cry foul. Google never supported Internet Explorer on Windows Phone, but that doesn’t mean their redirect isn’t silly.
Here’s Google’s official response to the whole fiasco, courtesy of Gizmodo:
The mobile web version of Google Maps is optimized for WebKit browsers such as Chrome and Safari. However, since Internet Explorer is not a WebKit browser, Windows Phone devices are not able to access Google Maps for the mobile web.
Okay, that sounds reasonable. That is, until you take into account this statement from Microsoft:
Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 use the same rendering engine.
That makes things… confusing. So, what’s absolutely certain is that Google is redirecting Windows Phone users away from Google Maps, and their official reason is that “it’s not optimized for Internet Explorer.” Technically speaking, moving away from those experience which aren’t optimized isn’t an unusual move. Developers intentionally cripple certain methods of accessing things because they’ll eventually be broken entirely anyway. Better to not get folks used to using those applications in that way.
This could also be seen as retaliation against Microsoft for their public disappointment in the FTC’s recent antitrust probe into Google. In the end, it’s hard to exactly point fingers, but the timing certainly is suspicious. It’s a pretty simple redirect, after all, since misspelling Windows Phone 8 as the originator seems to work just fine.
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