EU officials are not happy with how Apple is handling Progressive Web Apps

Posted:
in iOS

Some European lawmakers allege that Apple is shirking its responsibility to comply with the Digital Markets Act by removing Progressive Web Apps -- and are preparing to launch an investigation.

App Store logo on a blue background.
EU prepares to probe Apple over Progressive Web App issues



In early February, European Union users began noticing that Progressive Web Apps weren't working properly in iOS 17.4. At the time, the issue wasn't immediately clear.

It was later found out that, due to security and privacy considerations, Apple opted to remove the Home Screen web apps feature in the EU. The company cited concerns about potential misuse by malicious web apps, given that third-party browsers will be available.

However, as the Financial Times points out, the European Commission believes Apple may be limiting routes developers can take to avoid Apple's 30% App Store commission fee. The move has landed Apple in hot water once again as lawmakers send information requests to both the company and app developers.

"We are indeed looking at the compliance packages of all gatekeepers, including Apple," the European Commission said in a statement. "In that context, we're in particular looking into the issue of progressive web apps, and can confirm sending the requests for information to Apple and to app developers, who can provide useful information for our assessment."

Apple did not provide a new comment to Financial Times. Instead, it reiterated that the change would affect only a small number of users overall.

Support for Progressive Web Apps has never been fantastic. However, their removal is perplexing, given Apple's previous stance on the matter. Apple has utilized the existence of this functionality as an anti-trust defense on a global level.



Read on AppleInsider

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 34
    What a joke. Apple would have to develop an entirely new framework to allow third parties to support the  functionality using their own apps and browser engines.

    The EU has claimed all these regulations are about leveling the playing field, but the playing field is now level here since Apple apps don’t have the ability to add PWAs to the Home Screen. Nobody does. It’s no longer a feature of iOS in the EU.

    Now they are dictating what features Apple must develop. That could be justifiable for privacy and security issues. This isn’t that. Go to the web browser of your choice and open the website. Done. 
    williamlondonbshankjose8964apppleswatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 34
    Would it be possible for Apple to establish a new company, Apple Europe? They could put EU rep on Board and do everything to suit them. Customers could choose to buy a Euro iPhone from them, or an imported U.S. one. Let the market decide. Just spitballin’.
    9secondkox2williamlondonbshankwatto_cobradanox
  • Reply 3 of 34
    There is no reason at all for the eu to care about this. 

    Apple doesn’t have to offer a feature. M
    heck, they could strip the option of making phone calls. It’s not up to the eh to chart what features a company offers. 
    bshankwatto_cobradanox
  • Reply 4 of 34
    nubusnubus Posts: 377member
    Would it be possible for Apple to establish a new company, Apple Europe? They could put EU rep on Board and do everything to suit them. Customers could choose to buy a Euro iPhone from them, or an imported U.S. one. Let the market decide. Just spitballin’.
    Let us get the best of all states/countries. 5-6 years warranty like in UK. USB C, privacy, reduced app store fees like EU. And "Right to Repair" like in California?

    Can't imagine anyone demanding a non-Euro mouse later in 2024 to avoid USB C.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 34
    Would it be possible for Apple to establish a new company, Apple Europe? They could put EU rep on Board and do everything to suit them. Customers could choose to buy a Euro iPhone from them, or an imported U.S. one. Let the market decide. Just spitballin’.
    That would be terrible. Basically the same as having an fbi guy on staff at Twitter. 

    Letting the government run a private company? 

    Not even a slippery slope. Just straight up going to hell. 

    Not to mention the precedent that would set. 

    Better to just leave Europe and tell them that the rules is why they can’t have nice things. 

    Any company gets to do whatever they want within the confines of the law. What the wi is trying to do is micromanage a company as if that company were part of a communist government. Now they are upset over a feature removal? Give me a break. What’s next, forcing apple to change its icon designs? 
    edited February 26 watto_cobradanox
  • Reply 6 of 34
    A long fight, which gets tired now. 
    Make a progress. 
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 34
    I know it won't happen because, most likely, it does not make business sense for Apple to do so.

    But I really really hope and pray that Apple simply says "ENOUGH!!"

    And they pull the iPhone OUT of the EU countries, ....seriously !!

    What will the EU and users in the EU do ??

    Sue Apple, because they HAVE TO be forced to sell the iPhone in the EU ?   >:)

    Will EU users be forced to "choose" Android phones ??  ...a choice they've always had, to this very moment  :p

    Talk about inflicting some real inconvenience on those EU users, if Apple said go eff yourselves, and buy Android !!!

    PS
    And of course, the black market for iPhones would be huge BUT at 
    least Apple can manufacture the iPhone they deem, with the software and functionality they deem,
    and the EU users would again have the choice they have always had;
    Android or Black market iPhone, but with an iPhone as it was intended to be manufactured and delivered by Apple  :)
    edited February 26 jibwilliamlondonbshankwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 34
    sbdudesbdude Posts: 256member
    Ah, EU, your tax dollars at work.
    williamlondonzeus423watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 34
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,661member
    I know it won't happen because, most likely, it does not make business sense for Apple to do so.

    But I really really hope and pray that Apple simply says "ENOUGH!!"

    And they pull the iPhone OUT of the EU countries, ....seriously !!

    What will the EU and users in the EU do ??

    Sue Apple, because they HAVE TO be forced to sell the iPhone in the EU ?   >:)

    Will EU users be forced to "choose" Android phones ??  ...a choice they've always had, to this very moment  :p

    Talk about inflicting some real inconvenience on those EU users, if Apple said go eff yourselves, and buy Android !!!

    PS
    And of course, the black market for iPhones would be huge BUT at least Apple can manufacture the iPhone they deem, with the software and functionality they deem,
    and the EU users would again have the choice they have always had;
    Android or Black market iPhone, but with an iPhone as it was intended to be manufactured and delivered by Apple  :)
    That would be commercial suicide for Apple. Just hand the EU market over to your direct competitors. I can't see them going down that route. 

    And in case you didn't know, MWC2024 started here in Barcelona today and the opening speech made a big play for Open Gateway which already has 65% of the world's telecos onboard with the biggest proponents being the big EU players. 

    'Cloud phones' are already a reality and I hear there were high performance XR demos running at the different stands with all the heavy loading being done at the ICT edge, not the handset. 

    It might be worth keeping an eye on where that goes because in just two years, great strides have been made.

    The network itself is looking to become more than a simple transport pipeline and who holds the keys to that gate? 
    edited February 26 muthuk_vanalingamrobin huber
  • Reply 10 of 34
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,291member
    Just to offer some clarity: there is a difference between “saving what amounts to bookmark on your Home Screen” and a Progressive Web App. The former is just a convenient way to open your browser and go to a site in a single step. The latter seeks to “appify” the site and make it work as much like an app as possible. Some sites offer this ability; most don’t, and in any case very few people actually use PWA technology at all.

    Here’s what will happen: Apple will explain to the EU that their rules require that PWAs run on ANY browser engine. Some alternate browser engines are fine, like DuckDuckGo and Firefox, which are more-or-less as private and secure as Safari’s engine. Other ones, even well-known ones like Chrome, act as a pipeline of information about the user and their choices direct to the engine maker, i.e. Google. Others that might get into the business of browser engines might seek to open up attack vectors to the device. This effectively defeats Apple’s efforts to protect users on the web.

    The EU will evaluate Apple’s case and likely decide that it is not singling out EU users for “punishment” but instead protecting their privacy, and back off.
    edited February 26 foregoneconclusionwilliamlondonteejay2012watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 34
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 614member
    PWA sounds like JAVA. Close but odd enough to not look right or work great. I'll stick to native apps only.
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 34
    A lot of commenters are looking at this from what's good for Apple.  How about we look at it from what's good for the customer?  It is not good for the customer to lose web apps on the home screen.  Apple is simply continuing its heavy handed approach with iOS/iPadOS for its own financial benefit in the name of security.  All they had to do was implement the same security model the Mac has and this would be over.  Scan and notarize third party apps and allow an option for no notarization apps.  Simple.  Apple should not be in control of what is installed on an iOS/iPadOS device anymore than they control what is installed on the Mac.  It is such an elementary point that is pains me to have to make it.  When you buy an iPhone from Apple it is no longer Apple's phone.  It is your phone.  You can install what you want on your phone.  Apple's heavy handedness simply should not be tolerated by the customer.
    williamlondonnubus
  • Reply 13 of 34
    EU: "Treat them all equally!!!"
    AAPL: "Ok. All their services get worse"
    EU: "grrrrr"

    EU learns now what "Trade-Off" means. 
    SoCal4mezeus423apppleswatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 34
    So if you buy a Tesla and did not want to pay for some of the software based features that Musk has deemed to require additional payment to make them available, to in essence unlock them to the consumer purchaser, then you should get to either hack the car software (or hardware) to get those features for free, or make the government force the car maker to provide them to you for free? Afterall the car is "yours" now. Or is it only yours after it is paid off. At what point do you become the owner of the software built into the car? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 34
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 614member
    avon b7 said:
    And in case you didn't know, MWC2024 started here in Barcelona today and the opening speech made a big play for Open Gateway which already has 65% of the world's telecos onboard with the biggest proponents being the big EU players. 

    The telcos would love to have direct access to data in the Open Gateway. Right now the only things they can sell are location data and phone numbers dialed/texted. Getting into the pipe would expand this exponentially. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 34
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 614member

    A lot of commenters are looking at this from what's good for Apple.  How about we look at it from what's good for the customer?  It is not good for the customer to lose web apps on the home screen.  Apple is simply continuing its heavy handed approach with iOS/iPadOS for its own financial benefit in the name of security.  All they had to do was implement the same security model the Mac has and this would be over.  Scan and notarize third party apps and allow an option for no notarization apps.  Simple.  Apple should not be in control of what is installed on an iOS/iPadOS device anymore than they control what is installed on the Mac.  It is such an elementary point that is pains me to have to make it.  When you buy an iPhone from Apple it is no longer Apple's phone.  It is your phone.  You can install what you want on your phone.  Apple's heavy handedness simply should not be tolerated by the customer.
    If you do not like how a company operates then do not give them more money. There is a competitive alternative, Android, and there is just getting a non-smart phone. I will never get buying something and then trying to force a company to change the business model to better suit a customer.

    BTW you own the phone but definitely do not own the software (iOS), but instead have a license to use it under the restrictions Apple imposes for doing so. It is safe to say anything that has software on it cannot be completely owned by the end user.
    edited February 26 ihatescreennameswilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 34
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 614member

    SoCal4me said:
    So if you buy a Tesla and did not want to pay for some of the software based features that Musk has deemed to require additional payment to make them available, to in essence unlock them to the consumer purchaser, then you should get to either hack the car software (or hardware) to get those features for free, or make the government force the car maker to provide them to you for free? Afterall the car is "yours" now. Or is it only yours after it is paid off. At what point do you become the owner of the software built into the car? 
    You will never own any software unless you write it yourself and even that could be sticky if it includes the licensed work of others (GPL for starters).
    It is not a big leap from forcing Apple to implement certain features (alternative App Store, access to API's, unlimited free distribution of apps, etc) to forcing Tesla to unlock their paid software features to Tesla owners or requiring shared access to its superchargers by non-Tesla owners (I realize Tesla is doing something like this by choice).
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 34
    avon b7 said:

    And in case you didn't know, MWC2024 started here in Barcelona today and the opening speech made a big play for Open Gateway which already has 65% of the world's telecos onboard with the biggest proponents being the big EU players. 

    'Cloud phones' are already a reality and I hear there were high performance XR demos running at the different stands with all the heavy loading being done at the ICT edge, not the handset. 

    It might be worth keeping an eye on where that goes because in just two years, great strides have been made.

    The network itself is looking to become more than a simple transport pipeline and who holds the keys to that gate? 
    Sounds a bit like the old networked dumb computer terminal model applied to phones—why fill up your phone with a bunch of apps and software that can be served to it remotely? Or am I not understanding what is being proposed?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 34
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,661member
    avon b7 said:

    And in case you didn't know, MWC2024 started here in Barcelona today and the opening speech made a big play for Open Gateway which already has 65% of the world's telecos onboard with the biggest proponents being the big EU players. 

    'Cloud phones' are already a reality and I hear there were high performance XR demos running at the different stands with all the heavy loading being done at the ICT edge, not the handset. 

    It might be worth keeping an eye on where that goes because in just two years, great strides have been made.

    The network itself is looking to become more than a simple transport pipeline and who holds the keys to that gate? 
    Sounds a bit like the old networked dumb computer terminal model applied to phones—why fill up your phone with a bunch of apps and software that can be served to it remotely? Or am I not understanding what is being proposed?
    I think that could be a fair analogy, at least to a point 

    Microsoft and Amazon are onboard. Most Telcos are also already onboard with others interested. 

    Today, there was a big push at the opening of MWC2024 by the CEO of Telefonica.

    That's normal considering MWC is GSMA territory. 

    The telcos have been pushing Big Tech for years for them to help finance development of communications pipelines. That hasn't played out (the EU has resisted their efforts) so it seems like they are changing tack. 

    https://www.gsma.com/solutions-and-impact/gsma-open-gateway/what-is-gsma-open-gateway/
  • Reply 20 of 34
    AppleInsider said: However, as the Financial Times points out, the European Commission believes Apple may be limiting routes developers can take to avoid Apple's 30% App Store commission fee. 
    Sounds like the EU doesn't really believe that 3rd party stores and allowing links to web-based payments is enough to usher in a golden age of mobile competition. LOL...
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
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