French company sues Apple over incomplete HTML5 support on iOS, macOS Safari

Posted:
in General Discussion
A development company is taking advantage of a French law, and is suing Apple over incomplete implementation of the HTML 5 specification in the iOS version of Safari.









Developer and business service supplier Nexendi filed suit on Thursday in the French courts, demanding that Apple "sooner support the latest Web and HTML5 standards on its iOS platform." Should Nexendi prevail, and Apple cede to demands of better HTML5 support, it would allow web browsers with better HTML5 support than Apple's WebKit on the iOS App Store.



According to Nexendi, testing shows that the current level of iOS support for HTML5 technologies has lagged behind all other companies' offerings since iOS 8 was released.









The problem is not limited to iOS. Not surprisingly, since they same the same core technologies, the testing suit utilized by Nexendi shows that the macOS HTML5 implementation in Safari has also lagged since Safari 8.

WebKit, and Apple's requirements



Apple's mandate that all web browsers on iOS utilize apple's WebKit is at the core of the matter. While alternative browsers are allowed on the App Store, other web rendering engines are not.

"iPhones are the dominant devices with a loyal user base" -- Nexendi founder Jean-Paul Smets

WebKit is open source, and is used as the rendering engine within Safari. It was previously implemented in Google's Chrome web browser, but has since been "forked" by Google.



Nexendi is not the first company to take issue with Apple's requirement of WebKit for alternative browsers. In 2012, Mozilla pulled all Firefox related apps from the iOS App Store, railing against the requirement.



Mozilla ultimately backed down, and re-released a version utilizing WebKit in November 2015.

How, and why?



The effort and lawsuit spearheaded by Nexendi is not an altruistic gesture -- the company would benefit from winning the suit. The company claims that it is spending too much effort on supporting iOS by "backporting" HTML5 code for iOS, that could be redirected to other efforts, such as a free HTML5 video editor, accounting package, or music production system that can run offline in a user's browser.



"Not allowing the publication in Apple's AppStore of web browsers that are not based on Apple's own WebKit raises in our opinion the same issues as if Carrefour (a company similar to Walmart) was not selling any beans but those based on Carrefour's seeds," said Nexendi founder Jean-Paul Smets regarding the case law that the company is using. "This may be legal in other countries but in France, it is most likely not."



Nexendi notes that on macOS, they suggest the user install an alternate browser. It would tell users to abandon iOS in order to use its products, but it has found that "iPhones are the dominant devices with a loyal user base" and it would be a poor business decision to abandon the platform.



"It is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law," said Smets. "We thus have some hopes that this lawsuit will lead to a better situation for HTML5 support on iOS."



The trial is scheduled for Feb. 4, 2017.
dysamoria
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 64
    I don't think anyone cares much about webm in Safari...
    tallest skil
  • Reply 2 of 64
    dbeatsdbeats Posts: 26member
    Will they pay the additional overhead to Apple for supporting these APIs. Apple doesn't do this type of stuff because they feel like it, it's genuinely more expensive and resource intensive to support. So they're suing Apple to save their costs and push them on to Apple. 
    mike1magman1979jbdragonrepressthisboredumbjustadcomicspscooter63tallest skilbaconstangwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 64
    As a software developer, I think this as a good idea. As a user of iPhones, I think this is a bad thing. Putting on my Apple app, I hope it's thrown out. The future isn't the web...
  • Reply 4 of 64
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 19,805member
    As a software developer, I think this as a good idea. As a user of iPhones, I think this is a bad thing. Putting on my Apple app, I hope it's thrown out. The future isn't the web...
    The trial is in France so I wouldn't discount the possibility that Apple comes out on the losing side. 
    jbdragonjustadcomics
  • Reply 5 of 64
    As far as web standards go this is a good thing...
    mr okernapstertokyojimudysamoria
  • Reply 6 of 64
    I did not buy my iPhone for full implementation of HTLM5 in Safari, but to work well with what I need it for. It does. I suppose he could complain that his car is not fast enough as it does implement turbo charging. How do you say 'Give me a break' in French?
    magman1979jbdragonbaconstangwatto_cobralolliver
  • Reply 7 of 64
    mtbnutmtbnut Posts: 190member
    How do you say 'Give me a break' in French?
    Guilty. I mean, "Gui-ELL-tee."
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 8 of 64

    "It is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law," said Smets.

    What?  Weird sentence.  More importantly, what IS the law that they believe Apple is violating?

    Frankly, I'm surprised to hear that WebKit isn't as standards compliant as its competitors.  If true, Apple probably should rectify that. but I'm curious what law would require that, 

    jbdragonbaconstang
  • Reply 9 of 64
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,414member

    So now you can sue another company because you have to work harder to make your product worth well with the other companies products. Man MS and Google better watch out, it could cost them lots to do business in the EU besides the back taxes they think they are owed.

    This company has to realize no one is forcing them to support Apple products, move on and do something else then.

    redraider11jbdragonbaconstanglolliverJanNL
  • Reply 10 of 64

    Ok, here is the relevant bit from the linked sources:

    Civil Law is our Friend

    Considering the situation of HTML5 on iOS and the effort that is wasted at Nexedi and beyond, we have decided to research the possibility of using Law to help Apple open the doors of its AppStore to Web browsers with better HTML5 support. A few years ago, France passed a Law to protect small companies such as Nexedi against large companies that try to impose unbalanced contracts.

    The precise words are: "déséquilibre significatif entre les droits et obligations des parties". Nexedi believes this situation applies to Apple's AppStore contract. Not allowing the publication in Apple's AppStore of web browsers that are not based on Apple's own Webkit raises in our opinion the same issues as if Carrefour (a company similar to Walmart) was not selling any beans but those based on Carrefour's seeds. This may be legal in other countries but in France, it is most likely not.

    Thanks to Civil Law it is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law. We thus have some hopes that this lawsuit will lead to a better situation for HTML5 support on iOS.


    They are not arguing that Apple should be forced to update WebKit, but that Apple shouldn't be allowed to prohibit other browser engines.  And the stick they are trying to use is a provision in French contract law.  Seems like a reach to me.  Are ALL provisions in the developer license agreement up for grabs just because Apple is big and developers are small?  What's so special about this WebKit provision?  Have fun in court, guys.

    cyberzombiesockrolidjbdragonrepressthisjustadcomics
  • Reply 11 of 64
    This is typical behavior of socialists. They feel like they deserve something so they sic the government on people and companies to force them at gunpoint to pay more in taxes or follow certain laws to create in their minds an "even" playing field rather than compete 

    What they don't realize is these "standards" are created by a bunch of people looking for a monopoly on said "standards". Everything in this world revolves around money and HTML5 and the group that came up with it as a standard are no different. 
    mike1jbdragontallest skil
  • Reply 12 of 64
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member
    This is significant.

    This is not simply about HTML5, is it? It is about progressive web apps: They look and act exactly the same as a native app on your iDevice. The difference is that they don't need an App store. You simply download them from the web and use them offline. They're written in simple HTML5, CSS and vanilla JavaScript. 

    Progressive web apps are the future of the web on mobile. I hope Apple recognizes this, and turn the iPhone into a true Internet Communicator.

    Have a look at this video here.  It is a Mozilla talk Chris Wilson did a couple of weeks ago:
    designrbulk001tokyojimubirko
  • Reply 13 of 64
    bigdobigdo Posts: 17member

    "It is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law," said Smets.

    What?  Weird sentence.  More importantly, what IS the law that they believe Apple is violating? ....

    By deducing from their statement this French law applies to seeds. Apple Inc is named after apples. Apples have seeds, which  is evidente when you take a bit as suggested by Apple's logo. Thus, the law applies to Apple.
    radiowaveshealth
  • Reply 14 of 64
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,804member
    bigdo said:

    "It is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law," said Smets.

    What?  Weird sentence.  More importantly, what IS the law that they believe Apple is violating? ....

    By deducing from their statement this French law applies to seeds. Apple Inc is named after apples. Apples have seeds, which  is evidente when you take a bit as suggested by Apple's logo. Thus, the law applies to Apple.
    And if it floats, it must be a witch.
    mwhitejbdragonbaconstang
  • Reply 15 of 64
    BluntBlunt Posts: 220member
    I like Safari. For me it's the best browser, but it does needs more HTML5 support en better Open Type support.
  • Reply 16 of 64
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,635member
    dbeats said:
    Will they pay the additional overhead to Apple for supporting these APIs. Apple doesn't do this type of stuff because they feel like it, it's genuinely more expensive and resource intensive to support. So they're suing Apple to save their costs and push them on to Apple. 
    There would be little overhead in Apple allowing other browsers with rendering engines other than WebKit.
    singularitydysamoria
  • Reply 17 of 64
    mr o said:
    This is significant.

    This is not simply about HTML5, is it? It is about progressive web apps: They look and act exactly the same as a native app on your iDevice. 
    ...
    Progressive web apps are the future of the web on mobile.
    No, they aren't. Just like this is not the year of Linux on the Desktop. Nor will it ever be.
    Web apps do not look and act exactly like native apps, and they never integrate as well with the rest of the system. They will always move slower and perform slower as they attempt to emulate native code and create generic APIs years after the originals are available.

    I won't even get into how horrible they are from a security perspective.
    magman1979Rayz2016nolamacguyjbdragonpropoddysamoriaaderutterwetlanderbaconstangRosyna
  • Reply 18 of 64
    emoelleremoeller Posts: 415member
    What is missing from this discussion is safety/security.   If Apple has a legitimate reason for only allowing webkit on Apple devices due to security/safety concerns then the suit will fail (as it should).  
    jbdragonbaconstangRosynaMacPro
  • Reply 19 of 64
    holyoneholyone Posts: 377member

    Ok, here is the relevant bit from the linked sources:

    Civil Law is our Friend

    Considering the situation of HTML5 on iOS and the effort that is wasted at Nexedi and beyond, we have decided to research the possibility of using Law to help Apple open the doors of its AppStore to Web browsers with better HTML5 support. A few years ago, France passed a Law to protect small companies such as Nexedi against large companies that try to impose unbalanced contracts.

    The precise words are: "déséquilibre significatif entre les droits et obligations des parties". Nexedi believes this situation applies to Apple's AppStore contract. Not allowing the publication in Apple's AppStore of web browsers that are not based on Apple's own Webkit raises in our opinion the same issues as if Carrefour (a company similar to Walmart) was not selling any beans but those based on Carrefour's seeds. This may be legal in other countries but in France, it is most likely not.

    Thanks to Civil Law it is more difficult in France than in the USA to get a ruling that contradicts the wording of the law. We thus have some hopes that this lawsuit will lead to a better situation for HTML5 support on iOS.


    They are not arguing that Apple should be forced to update WebKit, but that Apple shouldn't be allowed to prohibit other browser engines.  And the stick they are trying to use is a provision in French contract law.  Seems like a reach to me.  Are ALL provisions in the developer license agreement up for grabs just because Apple is big and developers are small?  What's so special about this WebKit provision?  Have fun in court, guys.

    Does Apple have a sign on their foreheads that says " sue us, doesn't matter for what, we have lots of money we worked our asses off for and desperately want to give it to you" ? 
    sockrolidjbdragonbaconstangRosynalolliverMacPro
  • Reply 20 of 64
    mr o said:
    This is significant.

    This is not simply about HTML5, is it? It is about progressive web apps: They look and act exactly the same as a native app on your iDevice. The difference is that they don't need an App store. You simply download them from the web and use them offline. They're written in simple HTML5, CSS and vanilla JavaScript. 

    Progressive web apps are the future of the web on mobile. I hope Apple recognizes this, and turn the iPhone into a true Internet Communicator.

    Have a look at this video here.  It is a Mozilla talk Chris Wilson did a couple of weeks ago:
    Anything that uses a parser vs compiler as a baseline technology is already inherently inferior. That's ignoring broken standards and largely fragmented toolsets alongside performance and security. The web world with it's current technology stack is leaps and bounds inferior to native application development. There's a reason a first class application is typically native. You are beyond wrong on this. The future will hopefully be distributable and fragmentable binaries that compile natively rather get parsed.
    magman1979nolamacguysockrolidjbdragondysamoriaaderutterbaconstangRosynaMacPro
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