EU Displeased with Apple’s Decision to Stop Supporting Web Apps on iPhone – Investigation Looms

EU Regulation Triggers Probing for Apple’s Decision to Discontinue Web Application Support on iPhones

Apple, the global technology giant, is facing potential scrutiny from European officials following the company’s decision to discontinue support for web apps on iPhone in the region, reports Financial Times. The European Commission is gathering additional information, reaching out to Apple and application developers for details on the situation.

“We are indeed reviewing gatekeeper compliance, including Apple. In this context, we are examining the issue of progressive web apps and can confirm the distribution of requests for clarification to Apple and app developers who can provide useful information for our review,” shared Lea Zuber, a representative from the European Commission with The Verge. Apple, in response to journalists’ inquiries, pointed to a relevant page in the support section of their website.

Apple’s Position on Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Apple had earlier confirmed with the release of iOS 17.4, the support for progressive web apps (PWA) on iPhone would cease. This means they will no longer operate as individual apps with their own data storage and notifications. Instead, they will be converted into bookmarks for the browser. Apple tied this action to the European Digital Markets Act (DMA) requirement for comprehensive browser engine support on iOS, not just Safari WebKit.

The company argues that ensuring PWA support with other browsers requires a “completely new integration architecture”, which it deems “impractical in light of other DMA requirements.” Other reasons include the low popularity of the feature and potential security threats.

Impact on Developers and Response from Open Web Advocacy

In response to Apple’s new policy, the non-profit organization Open Web Advocacy, that champions open web technologies, initiated a survey to gauge its potential impact on developers. The survey results will be forwarded to the European Commission for further evaluation.

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