Apple backs off killing web apps, but the fight continues!


Japan ends the #AppleBrowserBan

Yesterday, Japan’s parliament passed into law a bill to promote fair competition on smartphone operating systems, similar to the EU’s Digital Markets Act and the UK’s Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill. In particular, it prohibits Apple’s ban of third party browser engines on iOS, which is an effective ban on browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Edge, Opera, Brave & Vivaldi. Apple bans... Continue reading

UK passes Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill

# UK passes Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill On 23rd May, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill was passed in Parliament. It is currently awaiting Royal Assent. As the UK Government explains, the Bill was introduced to crack down on rip-offs, protect consumer cash online and boost competition in digital markets. Most importantly for us, the new Act gives more powers... Continue reading

Apple's one weird trick to stop you changing your default browser

Long time readers will already know that Apple has effectively banned all browsers from iOS by preventing them from bringing or modifying their own engines. That makes all browsers on iOS essentially skins round Safari. We brought this up in one of our questions to Apple at their DMA workshop where we stated that "Apple’s 15 year ban of third-party browser engines has effectively removed... Continue reading

In-App Browsers: The worst erosion of user choice you haven't heard of

In-App Browsers subvert user choice, stifle innovation, trap users into apps, break websites and enable applications to severely undermine user privacy. In-App Browsers hurt consumers, developers and damage the entire web ecosystem. OWA recently met with both the Digital Markets Act team and the UK's Market Investigation Reference into Cloud Gaming and Browsers team to discuss how tech giants are... Continue reading

EU opens DMA investigations of Apple, Meta, Google

This morning, the EU announced that the Commission has opened non-compliance investigations under the Digital Markets Act (DMA) into Alphabet's rules on steering in Google Play and self-preferencing on Google Search, Apple's rules on steering in the App Store and the choice screen for Safari and Meta's “pay or consent model”. The Commission suspects that the measures put in place by these... Continue reading

US Department of Justice files Antitrust lawsuit Against Apple

Today, the contents of the US Department of Justice antitrust lawsuit against Apple were revealed. The DOJ along with 16 State's Attorneys General are co-litigants against Apple, claiming a series of unlawful behaviours by the tech giant. The suit is wide sweeping, and takes issue with Apple's monopolising tactics in the smartphone market. But, flipping to page 22, we see details of particular... Continue reading

The Digital Markets Act is in force! What happens now?

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) grace period for gatekeepers to comply has now ended. The DMA is EU legislation that came into law on the 1st of November 2022 that aims to improve fairness, contestability and interoperability in very large platforms that operate in the EU that have significant and durable market power. In order to not impose expensive compliance obligations on small and medium... Continue reading

Apple backs off killing web apps, but the fight continues

In a huge relief to developers and supporters of the open web, and under immense backlash, Apple has cancelled its plan to sabotage Web Apps!. This ends weeks of fear and uncertainty for developers and users. We would like to say a massive thank you to the DMA team as Apple's decision is no doubt related to the investigation they had opened. But our most heartfelt thanks are to the thousands of... Continue reading

It’s Official, Apple Kills Web Apps in the EU

If you ship a Web App in the EU and will be impacted by this, please sign our open letter to Tim Cook. It is critical that we gather as much evidence as possible to prevent Apple from breaking Web Apps in the EU. Sign the letter to Tim Cook Nearly two weeks ago we discussed a bug on iOS Beta 17.4 breaking Web App installation in the EU. Yesterday we raised the alarm that this... Continue reading

Apple on course to break all Web Apps in EU within 20 days

In 2011, Philip Schiller internally sent an email to Eddie Cue to discuss the threat of HTML5 to the Apple App Store titled “HTML5 poses a threat to both Flash and the App Store”. Food for thought: Do we think our 30/70% split will last forever? While I am a staunch supporter of the 30/70% split and keeping it simple and consistent across our stores, I don’t think 30/70 will last unchanged... Continue reading

Did Apple just break Web Apps in iOS 17.4 Beta (EU)?

We have been alerted that Apple has broken Web App (PWA) support in the EU via iOS 17.4 Beta. Sites installed to the homescreen failed to launch in their own top-level activities, opening in Safari instead. This demotes Web Apps from first-class citizens in the OS to mere shortcuts. Developers confirmed the bug did not occur outside the EU. This bug should have been picked up within seconds of... Continue reading

Web Developers React to Apple’s DMA Compliance Proposal

Since Apple released their plans for compliance with the EU’s DMA regulations on 25th January, we’ve been asking web developers how these changes may affect how they work, their businesses and the web as a whole. Jake Archibald, senior developer for Shopify, reflected "It seemed unbelievable to me that users on iOS were restricted to one browser engine, and one that in the past has been slow... Continue reading

OWA’s Review of Apple’s DMA Compliance Proposal for the Web

# Will Apple ever let browsers and Web Apps compete fairly? We believe that third party browsers should be allowed to compete fairly on iOS using the same engines they safely deliver to every other platform. Further, that Web Apps enabled by the functionality, stability and security delivered via intense competition between browsers should allow developers to bypass and contest the gatekeepers App... Continue reading

Apple's plan to allow browser competition dubbed unworkable

The #AppleBrowserBan Ends in the EU! After 3 years of campaigning by @OpenWebAdvocacy and in a victory for developers and consumers, Apple has been forced to allow third-party browsers in the EU. The Digital Markets Act compels them to finally allow browser vendors to port their real browsers to iOS by March 7th, 2024, offering users in the EU (for the first time) a legitimate choice. This news is... Continue reading

Apple files another challenge to the EU Digital Markets Act

We’ve previously covered filings from Apple claiming Safari is actually 3 browsers and that iPadOS shouldn’t be regulated under the DMA at all, which are arguments that have not held much water in our minds. But on Monday the EU published Apple's November filing, so we’ve been able to see a bit more about what they’re requesting. In this latest filing, Apple claims that: That the EU’s... Continue reading

Open Web Advocacy 2023 in Review

We’re living through a moment of real potential for change. For over a decade the Web has been prevented from fairly competing. That’s changing, and we’re working without fear or favor to direct change toward a safe, open future for computing and a better Web for all. Competition is the engine of progress and OWA is working hard to spread the word on anti-competitive practices holding the Web... Continue reading

UK browser investigation to restart Jan 24 after Apple fail to appeal

Nearly three weeks ago, we reported that London's Court of Appeal had ruled against Apple and in favour of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), allowing the CMA to reopen their Browser and Cloud Gaming Market Investigation. There was a 21 day grace period before that investigation could restart to allow Apple to respond. 30 November 2023: In a unanimous judgment (available on the... Continue reading

New Digital Competition Laws for Australia

The Australian government has agreed to new competition laws for digital platforms! This is excellent news and will pave the way for fair and effective browser competition on all operating systems & allow Web Apps to compete on an equal footing with Native Apps. The new laws will be based on the ACCC's recommendations in their Digital platform services inquiry - Interim report No. 5 which... Continue reading

iOS Safari zero-day security bugs and how browser choice affects user safety

In the last couple of weeks we've seen a few browser security bugs pop up, giving us the opportunity to talk about how a competitive landscape for web browsers is vital to protecting users online. # Nasty Bugs All Around Firstly, we saw a set of zero-day bugs identified in Webkit. Apple landed a fix for those in a subsequent iOS update. Secondly, a nasty security bug in Google Chrome, also... Continue reading

Apple loses on Appeal, CMA can restart investigation into browsers

In a victory for consumers and developers, London's Court of Appeal has ruled against Apple and in favour of the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), allowing the CMA to reopen their Browser and Cloud Gaming Market Investigation Reference. This is important as, Apple has effectively banned third party browsers via their 2.5.6 rule: 2.5.6 Apps that browse the web must use the appropriate... Continue reading

OWA submits response to EU DMA investigation into Apple iPadOS

As the EU further rolls out the Digital Marketing Act, they have designated a variety of companies and their platforms as “Gatekeepers”. You can see the complete list of Gatekeepers and some really useful explainers on what being a Gatekeeper means on the EU’s very informative website. Now that Gatekeepers have been designated, the companies that operate those services have had the opportunity to... Continue reading

Why is browser choice vital for the future of the Open Web?

OWA’s key goal is to enable true competition and browser choice across all devices. But, why do we care so deeply about this, and what would success look like? # Cost Currently, businesses that want to grow across many markets must develop not only a good website, but also native apps for any platforms they want to reach that don’t have modern browser features available. Additionally, deriving... Continue reading

News from the NTIA report on mobile app ecosystems

Bruce published an article where he gives us a summary of the NTIA (National Telecommunications and Information Administration) report on Mobile App Competition. The question now is whether Apple will do the right thing, or seek to hurl lawyers with procedural arguments at it instead, as they're doing in the UK now. But for every month they delay, they earn a fortune; it's estimated that Google... Continue reading

Australian Government considering ACCC proposed anti-competitive conduct legislation changes

G'day, sport! Bruce here, with an update on progress we've made down under with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). ACCC published a Digital Platform Services Inquiry Discussion Paper (PDF) which has great news for competition in browsers and web apps. They propose: Reversing the Apple browser ban Requiring equivalent access to hardware and software Allowing web apps to... Continue reading

OWA updates on progress with UK and EU digital competition regulations

Howdy, Bruce here, with an update on progress we've made in both the EU and with the UK's competition regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). # Browser engines on the agenda We've had encouraging success at putting browser engines on the regulators' agenda. While rendering engines seem a pretty esoteric subject, it's of paramount importance: Apple has done a great job concealing... Continue reading

OWA response to the CMA interim report

The CMA invited responses to its interim report. You can read our response with suggested browser and web-app remedies (PDF). Download response # 2. Introduction We agree overwhelmingly with the findings of fact and, with comments, agree that the proposed interventions contained within the CMA’s December 14th, 2021 “Mobile ecosystems market study interim report” are both warranted and timely. iOS... Continue reading