A spate of crashing new MacBook Air laptops running Google’s Chrome browser had the tech conspiracists in a tizzy, what with the frenemies relationship between iPhone-maker Apple and Android-creator Google. But the root cause of the problem turns out to be much more mundane: the MacBook’s graphic accelerator.

“We have identified a leak of graphic resources in the Chrome browser related to the drawing of plugins on Mac OS X,” Google told Gizmodo Thursday. The leaky resource is causing a kernel panic in the new MacBook Air’s Intel HD 4000 graphics chip, which has the Mountain View, Calif. Internet giant befuddled, terming the problem a potential “bug” by Apple.

While both Google and Apple investigate, the Chrome browser was updated to disable some graphics acceleration on the MacBook Air. A more permanent fix  will be pushed out “in the coming days,” Google assures concerned MacBook Air owners.

The response to all the fuss seems to have driven Mac fans away from Chrome and more solidly toward Apple’s Safari browser. “Chrome is great for my Dad’s 2003 vintage PC. But on my Mac it offers no advantage…it’s just another piece of redundant software to maintain. Safari all the way,” said a 9to5Mac user named “Tigerlilly.”

Others questioned Google placing blame on Apple for a “bug” in the new MacBook Air. Which gets us back to the conspiracy theories. Presumably, Apple developers tested the new MacBook Air on a wide range of software, looking for problems. The trouble with Chrome may have surfaced, but been overlooked. After all, wouldn’t a problem with Chrome push Apple fans deeper into the arms of Safari — as is happening now?


VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative technology and transact. Our site delivers essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you as you lead your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
  • up-to-date information on the subjects of interest to you
  • our newsletters
  • gated thought-leader content and discounted access to our prized events, such as Transform 2021: Learn More
  • networking features, and more
Become a member