Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is one of the most widely used web browsers, despite the fact that it has a tendency to crash from time to time. In order to improve the product and prevent future bugs, glitches, and crashes, IE creates an error report after every crash. Most of these reports go unsent, or so Microsoft thought.
You’ve likely experienced an error report before; they tend to pop up at the worst possible time.
Yep, that’s the window we’re referring to. Try to restrain yourself from flipping over your desk at the sight of it.
You’ll notice that this report gives the user two options, “Send Error Report” or “Don’t Send Error Report.” Even though Microsoft and the future of IE would benefit immensely from sending the error report, it rarely happens. In fact, the number of users who click “Don’t Send” is somewhere in the 90th percentile. This translates to a lot of error reports that are never read, much to the chagrin of Microsoft’s software engineers.
Everything is Not What it Seems
Or at least, this is what Microsoft thought regarding the fate of IE’s unsent error reports. It turns out that, for all of these years, clicking “Don’t Send” actually sends them somewhere, and you’re not going to believe where this someplace is.
Microsoft was recently tipped off about this discrepancy when they were designing the new Spartan web browser by looking closely at Internet Explorer’s original code, and that’s when they saw it. Buried deep within Internet Explorer was a small and seemingly-insignificant line of code that automatically sent the error report somewhere. Microsoft put their top team of programmers on the case and it led them to one famous address: 232 Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, California.
This innocent-looking garage is world renowned for facilitating the humble beginnings of one of today’s largest software companies, Google Inc. Between 1998 and 1999, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented the space. During this five-month period, they, along with five other employees, worked tirelessly to “build a better search engine.” Google’s subsequent growth and success is the stuff of Silicon Valley legend, but it turns out that they had the advantage of seeing “unsent” IE error reports.
During this time, few people at Microsoft have even heard of Google, while more than 40 percent of the world’s PC users were rocking and loving Internet Explorer. Meanwhile, boxes and boxes of IE error reports were being piped to the Menlo Park address. It sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory, but a legal team from Microsoft has recently uncovered boxes of these printed reports in the home’s attic.
The evidence appears to be quite damning against Google and the tech industry promises to never be the same again. The lawyers at Microsoft have already taken action and filed an injunction against Google and its Chrome browser, and a federal judge has ordered Google to cease and desist all operations by April 1st, April Fool’s Day.