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Browser realpolitik

If you didn’t think Google’s move to fork Webkit with its own engine Blink wasn’t going to make things a little messy on the browser front, think again.

That’s because – as I wrote for this week’s weekly update – the Webkit power-center mainly revolves around Apple now, and now, given Google’s move, the Webkit folks are looking to do a little house – or rather code – cleaning.

The email is from a software engineer at Apple, and it shows how Google’s move has already started to push the camps – and code bases – farther apart. While the initial target may be only code that is specifically for Chromium, as The Register points out, there are inevitably going to be those Webkit developers who rely on Google specific code like the V8 Javascript engine.

Long term, things will get messier and slightly confusing for companies as the balkanization around browser code continues. Just as Samsung could potentially be hurt by the removal of the V8 Javascript engine, just consider that they are also in bed with Mozilla for a next-gen browser engine themselves.

Bottom line, all of these bigger companies will have to manage multiple browser engines across multiple product lines in coming years until things shake out.  But, just as with politics, it seems all the big players are working behind the scenes in a game of browser realpolitik to gain an upper hand down the road.