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?
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 most of their user base from native applications and app stores mean that they’re forced into giving a cut to those app stores (usually 30% of any payments made through the app store). It’s not uncommon for businesses to pass that fee on to users as an extra cost.
In a fairer world, businesses would be able to rely on modern web browsers being available to all of their users, regardless of the platform they choose, enabling businesses to opt out of app stores and serve their customers from a single application, avoiding the app-store tax.
Privacy and Security
Although the web in general has a variety of issues in regards to privacy (hello ad-trackers!), browsers offer a sandboxed experience that is superior to native app security - Apple even knows this, and spoke about it in their recent filing to the EU.
With that said, browsers that are stuck inside native applications are at the mercy of that application - information can be freely read and tracked - so with browser choice available to an end user, they can regain control of their privacy and deprive those that would like to farm their data from their behaviours within their applications.
The most obvious reason that a lack of competition is an issue for everyone is it stifles innovation. With no fair way to deploy new browsers to all users, no new ones will be born. The market is already showing this by the practical loss of Opera and the downward trend of Firefox - neither can succeed in today’s market.
Currently, Google and Apple run a duopoly that essentially ensures that they are the only two active participants in deciding what happens to the open web (and mobile computing, in general), because they disallow anyone else to compete against them, preferentially favouring their own, closed, ecosystems of native apps.
If you want a choice in which company you trust with your web experience, the businesses that create those options need to know they have a fair chance to succeed.
If you want to read more about why closed ecosystems are a problem, take a look at our Walled Gardens Report.