We are a group of software engineers from all over the world who have come together to advocate for the future of the open web by providing regulators, legislators and policy makers the intricate technical details that they need to understand the major anti-competitive issues in our industry and how to solve them.
What is at stake?
The entire future of Application Development is at stake. Without regulatory or legislative change, we risk losing a universal, free and open, write once, deploy anywhere, application distribution and deployment system which will dramatically lower costs for businesses and consumers.
Without these changes, funding will shift to proprietary ecosystems and gatekeepers can extract heavy taxes. It will lock in their control and reduce innovation for mobile apps for many years to come.
Where do we start?
As an ad hoc group of web developers, we became convinced that the #AppleBrowserBan represents a major threat to the future of the open web. When the UK monopoly regulator, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched its market study into mobile ecosystems, some of our UK “members” were invited to brief the CMA.
We wrote our Regulatory Submission, “Bringing Competition to Walled Gardens” as part of this investigation.
Our top three priorities
- Apple's ban of third party browsers on iOS is deeply anti-competitive, starves the Safari/WebKit team of funding and has stalled innovation for the past 10 years and prevented Web Apps from taking off on mobile.
- Deep System Integration
- Web Apps need to become just Apps. Apps built with the free and open web need equal treatment and integration. Closed and heavily taxed proprietary ecosystems should not receive any preference.
- Web App Equality
- All artifical barriers placed by gatekeepers must be removed. Web Apps if allowed can offer equivalent functionality with greater privacy and security for demanding use-cases.
Regulators in the UK, EU, Japan, Australia and the USA have begun investigating Apple's ban on third-party browser engines and are considering interventions to enable Web Apps to compete with native. Most significantly, wording to this effect has been included in the EU's landmark tech act, the Digital Markets Act.
This was not inevitable. Over the past two years, Open Web Advocacy has extensively briefed regulators and legislators about the Web's potential to counterbalance the mobile app duopoly.
Almost certainly as a direct result of our advocacy Apple has hired dozens of additional staff to work on WebKit and Safari. This extra bandwidth and regulatory pressure has directly contributed to the addition of long-delayed features such as push notifications and app badging for Web Apps. WebKit staff numbers are secret, but we believe this is a significant percentage increase.
Competition, or at least the threat of it, works.
OWA needs your help to continue applying pressure to restore competition and to make universal web apps a reality. You can make a real difference to ensure the future of the web by supporting this work. We rely on donations to challenge unbelievably wealthy gatekeepers who have every incentive to hold the web back.
You can donate or join our community on Discord to get more deeply involved. Can't spare the cash or time? Keep up with what we're up to and help spread the word by following us on Twitter and/or Mastodon .