back to article Apple's grip on iOS browser engines disallowed under latest draft EU rules

Europe's Digital Markets Act – near-finalized legislation to tame the internet's gatekeepers – contains language squarely aimed at ending Apple's iOS browser restrictions. The Register has received a copy of unpublished changes in the proposed act, and among the various adjustments to the draft agreement is the explicit …

  1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    Apple's neglect of Safari and its lack of cross-platform operation these days is lamentable, but equally Google's addition of various stupid features to Chrome like hardware access and misc API shenanigans that seem to be largely about breaking things for those that don't use Chrome (or Edge, MS' towel-throwing exercise) is equally worrying.

    Apple might also have genuine fears over web privacy is users are going for Chrome as a web browser on iOS devices considering the number and variety of methods Google have used to slurp user's information.

    1. msobkow Silver badge

      Apple slurps all the same data for their iOS devices as far as I've ever read. They just don't hide the fact like Google keeps getting caught doing.

      It is impossible not to track certain information and still have a functional device. At some point, you are connecting to a mobile network, and your entry to that gateway WILL be tracked, like it or not, as will your identity.

      Besides, once collected, information can be subpoenaed. You don't think the government of America just might have a slight vested interest in having that information available to them? Perhaps even to the point of suggesting exactly what information is required by writing it into the telecommunications standards enforced in the US?

      And Apple has no "genuine" emotions of any sort, including any claims of "worry" or "fear". They're all marketing gimmicks and nothing more. The only thing they "fear" is a reduction in the revenue stream, or worse, implosion of the revenue stream.

      1. Ace2 Bronze badge

        Apple has never driven a car down the alley behind my house, taken a picture of my swingset, car, and license plate, and then posted the picture on the internet so that it pops up when you search for my cell phone number. *Including* the un-blurred plate.

        The whole company needs to die in a fire.

        1. unimaginative

          When I google for my number I get no results without the international code, and useless results with.

          I wonder what lets them correlate your number with your house but not mine? Telco sells them data?

        2. ecofeco Silver badge

          Wait until you hear about satellites!

        3. heyrick Silver badge

          Funny, my mobile number is unknown to Google, and Google certainly knows where I am as it's the Google Maps "home" location, and they also know my mobile number because Android, but I haven't put it in as any part of my official Google identity.

          Perhaps your service provider is selling your data?

          Can you request anything be blurred?

    2. v13

      It's not just Chrome. Brave, Duck Duck Go and Firefox also have to use Webkit on iOS. Apple's policy is deplorable and fuelled by fear of losing money from app sales. They may not be collecting aggregate data like Android does but they surely want your money to go to them and not anyone else.

      1. runt row raggy

        that's a lot of down votes, with no argument. am i missing an obvious reason to down vote?

        1. A. Coatsworth
          Gimp

          See icon

          EOM.

  2. DS999 Silver badge

    If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

    While not lifting a finger to stop Chrome's near monopoly (that this rule would only make worse, to the extent Google is able to convince weak minded fools into using Chrome on iOS instead of Safari) then they are clearly attacking the wrong problems.

    They are legislating what data web sites can collect by forcing them to display the annoying cookie warnings, while allowing the fox to guard the henhouse by letting the world's largest data collector be in a position to collect infinitely more data across ALL websites and even trying to extend that advantage by reducing usage of Chrome's only major competition. Idiots.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Chrome does indeed have a near monopoly, and the only reason it doesn't have 99% of the market is Safari.

      All of the other browsers are in the very low single-digit market share.

      But that is not because Google is pushing Chrome, it's because users do not understand - or care - about which browser they actually use.

      Funnily enough, they care enough to not use Edge, though, but you can't legislate on that.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        @Pascal Monett

        .. But Google is pushing Chrome

        e.g. today I was manually testing a website on edge (mandated work browser, other browsers only used in browser specific web site testing), one of the many things I tested was it fires a new google maps window showing area for a given postcode.

        Prominent on the Google maps page was a warning about best viewed with Chrome - i.e. encouraging user to get Chrome.

        Cannot recall exact wording as it's something you see so often yor mind just blanks it out.

        Generally, if someone uses a Google "utility" such as Maps, GMail, Search etc without using Chrome they often (not always, I assume some logic so waits a while after last "nag" rather than prompt every time) get a nag to use Chrome

    2. MaxArt

      Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

      Counterpoint: Apple has all the interest to keep the web at minimum usage because they profit from native apps. Thus hindering the development of the web - which is accessible and cheaper to everyone - is merely a business choice.

      The problem is: there is no competition if you don't allow other participants to compete. That's the situation on iOS.

      People *could* avoid Google's monopoly, if they want. On MacOS, you can install Chromium-based browsers but that didn't make Safari go away. And if you like all the new web capabilities but you loathe Google, you can use Edge instead. Or Opera. Or Brave. You have a *choice*.

      1. DS999 Silver badge

        Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

        I think you're only partly right. Apple doesn't want to allow stuff like bluetooth to be accessible via browser, but not to protect profits but to protect users. For apps you can give them rights to access bluetooth on a case by case basis, but as a single "app" the browser is all or nothing.

        Apple should do a better job keeping up with standards for harmless stuff like CSS, but I support them 100% in refusing to implement Google's stupid standards that allow Chrome direct access to all your various bits of phone or PC hardware.

        Google only got that shit approved because they essentially control web standards at this point. They should be forced to divest Chrome entirely, allowing the world's biggest advertiser full control of a direct line to every web interaction that the majority of world's phone/PC users do is ridiculous! All browsers should be designed with protecting user privacy as a primary goal, but with Chrome it is the opposite!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

          Apple are getting much better recently, even first to release stable versions of some specs. Ever since Jen Simmons started there

        2. MaxArt

          Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

          > For apps you can give them rights to access bluetooth on a case by case basis, but as a single "app" the browser is all or nothing.

          That is incorrect: permission to use Bluetooth must be given on a domain basis. It also needs to be on a secure connection (say https). It's specified as such.

          It's just like web push notifications and basically all of the new web APIs.

          > Google only got that shit approved because they essentially control web standards at this point.

          It's true that Google is a major force in developing web standards, but it's also true that Apple is. Microsoft is. Adobe, Samsung, Bloomberg, Mozilla are. They *can* block Google's efforts and managed to do so in the past (e.g., cohorts, web bundles, etc.). Also AMPs are finally walking towards the sunset - thanks to legislations too! And look at that, EU laws are coincidentally the subjects of this article...

          > They should be forced to divest Chrome entirely

          Unless you're asking for a law "ad personam" against Google, that would mean that Microsoft, Apple and Samsung (which all have their own ad networks) would need to ditch their browsers, leaving only Firefox and government-controlled browsers like Yandex or Baidu (which would be very glad to take control of Chromium and WebKit). Are you sure it's reasonable?

      2. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

        And if you like all the new web capabilities but you loathe Google, you can use Edge instead. Or Opera. Or Brave. You have a *choice*.

        If you loathe Blink, you can use Blink, Blink, or Blink.

        1. MaxArt

          Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

          I said that on purpose.

          Since it's true that most of the new web APIs are supported in Blink first, if you don't want to lose them you have alternatives.

          Keep in mind that Blink != Chrome. Blink is an open source project, and anyone can adopt it. And more than that, adopters can even *block features* if they wish.. That's what Brave did, for example.

          And finally, there's still Firefox, and other Gecko-based browser.

          So, what's your point about having Safari, Safari or Safari on iOS?

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

            That in the end this proposal has probably come too late. If it becomes law you will have a choice of WebKit, Blink, and Firefox (dwindling market share).

            1. MaxArt

              Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

              We surely agree on that - Apple should have been forced to allow other browser engines on iOS long ago.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

      They don’t force cookie warnings at all. Sites could just not collect data. Cookies required for functionality like logins do not require a notice. Let’s. It get into “required” cookies for “fraud” prevention. aka tracking. Sites could still show ads based on their content.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: If they are attacking Apple for not allowing Chrome

      Do try and keep up.

      https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/20/18273888/google-eu-browser-search-choice

  3. ttlanhil

    It's not (just) that you have to use WebKit...

    It's that the version of WebKit available to use in apps (or competing browsers, which are mostly just a skin on WebKit on iOS) is not as up to date.

    Or, at least, that was the case when I was doing webapp work at $JOB-1.

    The APIs we needed were (recently) supported by Safari (and iDevices kept Safari up to date so we didn't need to worry about that), as well as on any recent Chrome, FF, or Edgium.

    They weren't available on the older WebKit engine used by anything other than Safari.

    We had graceful degredation, but did have to explain to some clients they'd need to switch browsers to see the features we were trying to demo!

    1. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      Re: It's not (just) that you have to use WebKit...

      They have fixed that now. It was a major pain point to switch engines. But it is a lot more up to date.

  4. James R Grinter

    Err, Safari works fine for the user. If the experience was really sub-par Apple wouldn’t be selling us lots of iPhones. Just because it doesn’t implement every latest experimental feature does not make it bad.

    I’d posit the restriction on rendering and script interpreters has its origins in preventing developers skirting the App Store rules by disallowing apps that can execute dynamically delivered code (and JIT, necessary for JavaScript performance, requires memory pages to be able to be modified and then marked executable - another feature undesirable for security reasons).

    If I wanted a choice of dodgy apps I’d buy a different brand of phone ;-)

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Works Just Fine

      Not for me. I have FF on desktop with various Addons. In an ideal world I’d be able to sync across devices but I can’t because iOS doesn’t allow addons on iOS “Firefox” and there are no equivalent addons for Safari.

      I don’t think Safari is what drives people to iDevices and desktop Safari is horrible.

    2. Craig 2

      "Err, Safari works fine for the user."

      Err, no it doesn't. Safari is intentionally crap so that everyone who wants / needs a presence on iPhone develops an app. Completely coincidentally (of course), this protects Apple's revenue stream...

      Apps were a great stop-gap for richer functionality back when the web was really just HTML, they should have gradually disappeared as the web caught up.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        @Craig 2

        Frankly, web should just go back to basic HTML.

        The security nightmare that is JS can just **** off & same goes to all the extra browser APIs Google keeps pushing. e.g. A web browser does NOT need USB access FFS

        1. MaxArt

          "web should just go back to basic HTML"

          Says who? And why?

          And why do you think that something that runs *in a sandbox* is less secure than something that people install blindly giving permission to do whatever with their devices, because reading warnings is boring?

          1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            --Says who? And why?--

            Me for one. In fact I'd almost say text only. Most websites with graphic content simply make it more difficult to read whatever it is you went to the site for. Occasionally I need a picture (eg the inside of fridges - guess what I need to buy) but not very often.

            1. MaxArt

              So why stop there? Why don't you go all the way and just use the radio, landline phones and typewriters? That should be enough for you luddites.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Caught up? Delusional.

      3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

        Re: "Err, no it doesn't. Safari is intentionally crap so that everyone who wants / needs a presence on iPhone develops an app. Completely coincidentally (of course), this protects Apple's revenue stream..."

        Works fine for me. Have the odd problem with websites, but that's usually cured by adjusting my content blocker.

        "Apps were a great stop-gap for richer functionality back when the web was really just HTML, they should have gradually disappeared as the web caught up."

        While I can see the advantage of web apps for developers (you drastically reduce your codebase as you don't have dozens of platforms to support), they are, IMO, a terrible idea for consumers. Yes, they have control over what facilities web based apps (and by definition, websites), but that only protects if the user is aware of what they've just agreed to and that the company hosting the web apps has secure servers.

        Neither are a given. A lot of users will just hit "agree" without really reading what they've just agreed to, especially if prompted many times. Also, even the most secure servers *can* be compromised. Even if your server has almost military grade security protecting it, what about the server hosting the nice little Javascript that provides some backend functionality for your web app. Is that secure? If it's not, your web app can still cause your users to be exposed to the risk of their devices being hacked.

    3. MaxArt

      > Just because it doesn’t implement every latest experimental feature does not make it bad.

      It does. I'm a web developer and I can't possibly count how many times I said "using that feature would be great - too bad that Safari doesn't support it!" And I'm not even talking about "latest experimental features": take the dialog element, supported by Safari only now (v15.4) and by Chrome since v37 (2014!).

      One thing is doing "just fine" - and that's fair, it's enough for most people - another is holding back several capabilities that could make it great and spur innovation for the web.

      As mentioned in the article, companies could concentrate on developing just a web app rather than trying to do both and probably delivering sub-par experiences.

      The mere threat of forcing Apple to allow other browser engines has pushed them, in the last weeks, to develop Safari at a rate never seen before. That alone is excellent. Allowing other browser engines will prevent stagnation to happen again.

      1. Ace2 Bronze badge

        I’m glad that you, as a web developer, are prevented from using every stupid new feature that comes along.

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Me too. This constant rush to implement every cutesy new feature are why we had flashing text of all different colors and fonts in the early days of the web - people did it because they could. They had these new features and felt they MUST use them, nevermind working instead to make the site as easy to read and navigate as possible.

          So sorry if a web designer's ability to find new and innovative ways to shove ads in our face to get by the defenses we're forced to build to block them is making his job harder! Boo hoo!!

          1. MaxArt

            You're deluded and factually wrong. The mere fact that advertisers aim to reach most of the people force them to use only the oldest technology. As a matter of fact, basically all of the ads you see use technology that was already available in Internet Explorer 6. Animated gifs and iframes are not new at all; only audio and video elements are newer, but not by much.

            The fact that sites are so terrible to navigate these days is not because of developers - or even designers. It's because of business and/or legal requirements. That is why you get to download 300+ kb of analytics script, or dismiss a newsletter modal shoved to your face, or the cookie banner, and a myriad of obtrusive ads. But that's all stuff that you could do in 1999.

            And, by the way, a good chunk of "native" applications are just native wrappers around web content nowadays, so it's not like you can escape from that either.

        2. MaxArt

          "Stupid new feature"? For example? And how are they different than their native app's counterparts?

          Should we stop using the features that the platform has to offer because you think they're "stupid"? Can you give us a list of what's allowed, or maybe a written statement any time we ask you if we can use them?

          Look, I get that you might now find much value in support for MIDI, RS232 or AVIF, but that doesn't mean that *nobody* does. And we shouldn't be prevented to use them because of Apple's capricious will.

          And it's more than that. The dialog element I mentioned isn't something that came out of Google's agenda: it's something that web developers wanted for years, so they could drop libraries to use something that should be trivial, with *native accessibility* and ease-of-use. Yes, Apple is holding back accessibility features too.

          And it's not like Apple doesn't promote its own agenda either. It's just for the things that *they* deem to be important - and it's basically always with relation to their products, and possibly without the collaboration of other vendors. For example, Apple's far ahead of Firefox and Chrome when it comes to supporting CSS color spaces other than the usual sRGB. Yes, Safari supports "shinier colors"... because they sell pricy and capable displays.

          Or when Apple came out with the notch on the iPhone and introduced new, proprietary extensions to CSS just to support their notched display. Out of nowhere, without any prior discussion with the W3C, just because they needed to keep their industrial secrets. A-la Microsoft Internet Explorer, but in 2017.

          Web application can do so much more than Apple allow them to do. And it's not just silly shenanigans, but real improved usability. We have standards and specifications, discussed extensively in committees that almost always *include Apple* too. The times that Apple participated and then just omitted to implement; or that just opposed a feature giving no valuable alternative; or was forced to implement something because the complaints from web developer became unbearable, are uncountable.

          It's just so, so annoying and frustrating to go on like that.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Web developers. Too busy thinking if they could rather than if they should.

          2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            I note one interesting factoid. You quote "web developers" a lot. What about the poor users that have to suffer your output?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They waited until dialog could be done right. Try reading discussions about it. There were flaws in the spec that are now resolved.

        1. MaxArt

          That is false. Safari's dialog implementation is basically equivalent to Chrome's. And yet Apple took 8 more years to do it.

          There *are* points that are still discussed (shifting the focus on opening, for example), but they haven't been finalized. So not quite "resolved".

          Please don't try to justify Apple for this stuff. If they thought there was something wrong, they could have contributed long ago. They didn't.

          Some of the features that are being implemented in Safari came from *external contributors*, like Igalia, that *received financial crowdfunded support* for the most painful of Safari's shortcomings. The last one being the support for :focus-visible.

          You read that right: *developers* had to open their pockets to improve *Apple*'s browser.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      "Err, Safari works fine for the user."

      No, not really.

      Earlier today, I had a guy at work trying to log into the company portal for requesting a day off. On his iPhone (sorry, don't know what type) he tried Safari, Chrome, and something else. I tried to explain that they all used the WebKit engine because Apple are control freaks so if a site doesn't work correctly, it will behave the same on all of the browsers. "But I have Chrome, it's not Safari". I gave up.

      I had an iPad Mini, last updated to iOS 7. Safari was about as stable as a house of cards on a windy day. The word "crashy" doesn't do it justice.

      "If I wanted a choice of dodgy apps I’d buy a different brand of phone ;-)"

      Googling "theregister iphone malware" gets enough hits to demonstrate that you're not immune.

      Me? I'm an Android guy not for the dodgy apps but for the control. Google, who run the app store, tend to be a bit funny with things that compete with their own products. But you can pick one up from places like the xda forums or alternate app stores (like F-Droid) or directly from the programmers...and then install it. Your phone, your choice. No nannying.

      1. Alumoi Silver badge

        Your phone, your choice.

        Until you try to install a real firewall or adblocker*. Or until you try to uninstall all the crap that comes with the phone. Or, you know, try to block all those useless services every application must run. Then you realize it's not your phone as you can't get root access.

        A phone paid by you and owned, partially, by Google, your provider and the manufacturer.

        *real as in not using a VPN. Think AFWall+ and AdAway

  5. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Shiny shiny ...

    more Cromey goodness ... welcome to the strange world where Apple can't control software on it's own kit as it's monopolistic but Google can control it's software on all platforms including its own ...

    1. GioCiampa

      Re: Shiny shiny ...

      Apart from the fact that you're wrong... the obvious example being Firefox:

      Android - built on Gecko

      iOS - built on WebKit

      Where's the Google monopoly you claim exists? Yes, Chromium-based browsers form the vast majority of those used on Android and as such may be a de-facto "monopoly" (in the same way Windows is in the non-Apple PC space), but there's nothing to stop anyone from building their own should they want to.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Shiny shiny ...

        "Chromium-based browsers form the vast majority of those used on Android and as such may be a de-facto "monopoly" "

        and on Windows ... don't forget Edge. The only popular alternative is FF and its market share is tiny.

        However I'm glad to see that there appears to be a genberal consensus that, unlike Apple, Google have not get excessive market control so that's fine and we'll let them continue as they are.

        1. M.V. Lipvig Bronze badge

          Re: Shiny shiny ...

          Firefox's share has gotten tinier ever since they decided the Win10 constant update model was a good idea. Every time I try to use it I have to wait for it to update. Use it today, update. Use it tomorrow, update. I switched to Opera and Brave as a result. Unless they're addressing a major security threat, quarterly updates should be all that's needed. Daily updates makes me hear the sound of straws going after the last bit of the milkshake.

    2. Dave K

      Re: Shiny shiny ...

      I don't really get the comparison here. Android has allowed competing browser engines for some time, plus also supports sideloading of apps and other app stores such as Amazon's store, so you don't have to use Google Play (of course, adding apps from unverified sources can be risky if you don't know what you are doing).

      How exactly does this result in Google having more control than Apple?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Shiny shiny ...

        It's an "Apples" and Oranges comparison (no pun intended) but a popular argument nonetheless. There is certainly legitimate concern that Google have too much control/influence over the direction Chromium goes, which of course affects pretty much every browser other than Safari and Firefox. Google's browser dominance has largely come from drive-by downloads, user apathy and Microsoft's inability to build a usable browser using anything other than Chromium

        As always though, those who have drunk the Koolaid believe that Apple control is good and Google or Microsoft is bad

        1. msobkow Silver badge

          Re: Shiny shiny ...

          They're all in it for your money. As much of it as possible and as often as possible. Even Firefox wants money to support development. I never let myself forget that, nor the fact that as largely American based organizations, they'll sell YOUR soul to make a dime.

          1. Franco Silver badge

            Re: Shiny shiny ...

            And the vast majority of Firefox's money comes from Google in return for being set as the deafult search option. FF is still my browser of choice though....

    3. lglethal Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Shiny shiny ...

      " welcome to the strange world where Apple can't control software on it's own kit.."

      Sorry, but it's not Apple's kit. The Apple "Kit" belongs to the person who bought it from Apple. And what they decide to do with it is completely up to them, and should not be dictated to by Apple.

      Would you accept buying a car, and being told you're only allowed to drive on certain streets or to certain destinations? I very much doubt it, so why do you accept Apple being allowed to tell you what you can and cannot install on your phone...

      1. Joe Gurman

        Re: Shiny shiny ...

        If I invented a revolutionary, new television that did (I don't know) some wonderful things that would make hunters scoop them up like hotcakes, but which were hard-wired not to show Fox "News," what would the "markets" (*cough*) committee say? The buyers who wanted that "feature" could always buy one of the TVs manufactured by literally dozens of other vendors. They might not have my spiffy, new features, but they'd have the product they wanted.

        Now explain to me what EU bureaucrats' interference is required in this case. If Apple's limited web browser implementation is to terrible, there are simple (and less expensive) alternatives at hand.

      2. JimboSmith Silver badge

        Re: Shiny shiny ...

        Would you accept buying a car, and being told you're only allowed to drive on certain streets or to certain destinations? I very much doubt it, so why do you accept Apple being allowed to tell you what you can and cannot install on your phone...

        I very much look forward to test driving an Apple car that does just that.

        I’m typing this on an Apple iPad and I hate they keyboard, but you can’t change that. I asked at my local Apple store and they told me I couldn’t, but the bloke couldn’t see why I’d want to nor what was wrong with it either. I showed him my Android phone and the open source keyboard I use: AnySoftKeyboard. I wanted to know why on the large iPad screen I only ever had three word suggestions. Compare that with the tiny screen of my phone where the number of visible word suggestions was dependent on how many characters I had typed. Also I can scroll across for more and on top of that the suggestions on the iPad were crap comparatively. The response was simply that it’s Apple policy and tough.

        1. elbisivni

          Re: Shiny shiny ...

          So, err, was this a while ago? IOS has supported third party keyboards on iPhone and ipad since version 8, released in September 2014. I'm using SwiftKey to type this on an iPad and it works fine. Earlier versions of the OS were a little balky at times with such keyboards, but with IOS/ipadOS 15 support has been solid on my 2015 vintage ipad.

          Of course I'm not using GBoard because... well, Google, but I could if I wanted to.

          1. JimboSmith Silver badge

            Re: Shiny shiny ...

            I tried SwiftKey and it’s almost identical looking to the IOS keyboard, and only offers 3 suggestions for replacement words.

      3. msobkow Silver badge

        Re: Shiny shiny ...

        Well, it doesn't go so far as to tell you where to go, but yes, half of what you hear a "Tesla can do" is subscription based, and if you stop paying, you lose the feature... despite having "bought" the car.

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Shiny shiny ...

      Do try and keep up.

      https://www.theverge.com/2019/3/20/18273888/google-eu-browser-search-choice

  6. ShadowSystems Silver badge
    Joke

    I need a rock...

    A Big. Fucking. Rock.

    I need it to drop from orbit & smash down through the roof of Apple HQ & turn the site into a smoking, glassy crater.

    Then I need another one to do the same to Google HQ, MS HQ, Amazon HQ, Meta HQ, and...

    Oh hell, at this rate there won't be enough rocks in the galaxy to drop on all the arseholes that need a right good smiting.

    Can I have a rogue planetoid smash into this rock & knock it into the sun like the universe's best snooker trick shot?

    *Sigh*

    1. runt row raggy

      Re: I need a rock...

      seems like very dark humor.

    2. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

      Re: I need a rock...

      --Can I have a rogue planetoid smash into this rock & knock it into the sun like the universe's best snooker trick shot?--

      NO!

      At least not whilst I'm living on it.

  7. Fred Daggy Bronze badge
    WTF?

    Swap on monopoly for another?

    Not arguing about the merits or otherwise of Apple's monopoly on its devices, however what happens if this takes off and becomes a thing?

    Are we going to see a Chrome based monopoly of the internet extending now on IOS devices? Webkit is an alternative to the Chrome engine and I am sure that without it, there would be a return to the days of the mid to late 90s "This site best viewed with Internet Explorer 5 at 800x600", except ... with Chrome. Google's apps on IOS devices already suggest Chrome to open any web links.

    Every web site and ad slinger will be praying for the last effective holdout against Chrome. So they can monetise you. Becuase, it will make a difference who is selling you to whom. (Or does it?)

    1. v13

      Re: Swap on monopoly for another?

      The problem with IE was that Microsoft tied it with Windows and that it never worked on other platforms, thus limiting your OS choice. Chrome (and Chromium) don't prevent you from using Linux, Windows, Macs or iOS. Microsoft also actively prevented other browsers on Windows from accessing the APIs that IE did. So, no. Chrome isn't the same as Internet Explorer. Chrome's engine is also open source and widely used (Edge, Brave, DDG) so it doesn't actually limit you at all.

    2. DS999 Silver badge

      Re: Swap on monopoly for another?

      This site best viewed with Internet Explorer

      Too late, I already see that shit with Chrome which is an indication Google needs to be divested of it before it becomes the only browser on the desktop. If Google was allowed to ship a full Chrome browser on iOS you can bet mobile sites everywhere would have the "best viewed" and Chrome download buttons everywhere.

      Google can invade your privacy in ways web site owners can only dream of, by getting the data directly from the user interaction with the browser meaning they get it from ALL web sites you visit. They are a far bigger threat than someone like Facebook, who only can get the data from you when you are using their site.

      1. MaxArt

        Re: Swap on monopoly for another?

        > Facebook, who only can get the data from you when you are using their site.

        You're kidding, right?

        Didn't you just forget about all those social interaction buttons? The embeded posts, the analytics scripts, the ads?

        If you don't want to use Chrome, you can use Brave or Edge. But you can't alter the websites you're visiting (except if you're using extensions - and you can't on iOS).

        1. DS999 Silver badge

          Re: Swap on monopoly for another?

          If you have third party trackers disabled as everyone should, those Facebook buttons on other web sites don't do them much good.

          Anyway they don't have those on EVERY site, but Google can track what you do on EVERY site if you use Chrome. They can also tell how long you spend on each window, what you click on, what you hover over, etc.

          Using Edge yeah that's a laugh. You realize that's the same engine, so helps contribute to Google's monopoly over desktop browsing. The fact there are a few alternatives with less than 10% total does not alter the fact that Google has pretty much taken over control of the direction of the web. And you seem fine with it.

    3. jezza99

      Re: Swap on monopoly for another?

      Precisely. I don't and never have used Chrome. I do not trust Google with my data and try to minimise the use of Google services accordingly. Half the Google ads I see are for scam products.

      If native apps go away then we would be in the same situation as in the 2000s, where you in practise had to use IE, only this time it will be Chrome.

      I prefer Safari as it protects my identity when I am browsing the web. You have the choice to buy an Android phone if you want to use something that has a different browser engine.

      The EU is barking up the wrong tree with this one.

  8. PerlyKing
    Facepalm

    The irony

    Can anyone else remember the early days of iPhones, when Apple resisted publishing an SDK and said that developers should do everything in Web apps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The irony

      Most likely that was driven by not having anything ready in a state they wanted to support rather than it actually being a desired state. Web apps suck now, they sucked even worse back then. No way Jobs really wanted to push them.

  9. Abominator

    I don't want shitbag Chrome based Electron apps on my fucking phone. If I wanted that, I would get Android.

    The fucking thing (Chrome) uses all the memory and cores on my desktop. It's a fucking disaster of inefficecy and lets face it an OS in side a browser engine.

    Jobs was right when he blocked Flash on iOS devices as it drained the battery. And Chrome is the modern day Flash, eating your batter and purposefully stealing your data, where as Flash leaked it like a fucking sieve.

    Fuck right off.

    1. lglethal Silver badge
      Facepalm

      *sigh* And if this law passes, there's nothing to say you have to install any Chrome based programs on your Phone. No-one is going to hold a gun to your head and say you have to use Chrome instead of WebKit versions.

      But guess what, you would now have the option to install something based on Chrome if you so fucking chose...

      Why on Earth, would you consider this a bad thing???

      1. Ace2 Bronze badge

        It only takes 1 mandated app to bring the damn thing in through the side door.

        I have to use Duo (blech) for work for 2FA on my Google (double-blech) work account. Of course those arse-bastards are going to switch to requiring a 2FA app that conveniently “requires” that Chrome come along for the ride.

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Go

          Your problem then is with your firm, and its mandate that you use Duo and Google.

          The government is not going to force you to use any program. You choose the programs on your phone.

          If your firm requires you to use programs you dont want to use, you have options - discuss it with your firm and try to convince them there wrong with those programs, ask for a company phone so you dont have to put these programs on your personal phone, or quit. All are options. All things available because you have choice.

          Apple is currently blocking you from having any choice. That should always be fought against. Your phone - YOUR CHOICE.

          1. Joe Gurman

            I'm sorry....

            ....but trying to be as courteous as possible, that "argument" is the product of the south and of a horse headed north. Your choice is in buying a device that does what you want. Want Chrome? Buy an Android phone. Done and dusted.

            My choice, on the other hand, is to buy a phone that doesn't allow any hive of scum and villainy aboard, other than than the manufacturer. Might not be your choice, but it's (sorry, can't bring myself to use uppercase) my choice.

            1. MaxArt

              Re: I'm sorry....

              Oh, and tell me: what do you use for your laptop?

              Certainly not a Mac, because you can sideload apps and install Chrome there, you know...

              The point is: you're just deluding yourself. No device is *that* secure, certainly not a consumer-grade iPhone. But there's a whole industry that's being held back by Apple and your illusions of security are far less important than that.

            2. Falmari Silver badge

              Re: I'm sorry....

              @Joe Gurman “My choice, on the other hand, is to buy a phone that doesn't allow” others the choice to install software, that if you were given that choice you would not install it.

              What does it matter to you what software others choose to run on their device?

              BTW I chooses not to use Google services/software on my devices from phone to computers, my choice. What others use on their devices their choice.

            3. Mostly Irrelevant

              Re: I'm sorry....

              You're saying it's your choice, but you could chose to not install 3rd party browsers anyway. What you want to is allow Apple to continue limiting other's choices. This doesn't affect you at all, you can keep doing what you want.

          2. Alumoi Silver badge

            The government is not going to force you to use any program.

            Unless some important government sites only work in Chrome.

  10. DerekCurrie
    WTF?

    What is a NOT a native iOS app on iOS?

    "Many believe this barrier serves to steer developers toward native iOS app development, which Apple controls."

    ...As opposed to WHAT on the iOS platform?

    What is a NOT a native iOS app on iOS?

    I think this sentence requires revision.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: What is a NOT a native iOS app on iOS?

      As opposed to a "web app", aka website.

      The idea is that Apple doesn't like it when people buy something through a website without paying anything to Apple. So Apple is deliberately crippling browsers on iOS so that websites are slow, so that companies develop an iOS app to replace the website, so that Apple can grab 30% of anything bought through the app.

      1. Justthefacts Silver badge

        Re: What is a NOT a native iOS app on iOS?

        Is this true? Apple grabs 30% of everything bought through an app?

        So, if I download the Waitrose app on IOS, then 30% of my food shop payment goes to Apple? And if I download the Curry’s app, then 30% of the purchase price of my new TV goes to Apple?

        Two seconds thought demonstrates this is not true.

  11. DerekCurrie
    Mushroom

    Browser Warz

    Background: Years back, I became so fed up with Apple's ruination of their macOS Safari browser that I permanently dumped it. I don't use it.

    But why can't ALL browsers and their browser engines FOLLOW WEB STANDARDS?!

    Why are we users being FORCED to suffer from BROWSER WARZ? I hate using a web browser and finding that it absolutely cannot resolve all the code on the page. It's idiotic in this day and age. Idiotic. ALL the browser providers are guilty. Every one of them.

    S T A N D A R D I Z E

    or get off the Internet!

    Google: Stop foisting flakey, sub-beta formats onto the web!

    Apple: Catch up with what finished, working, secure and reliable formats Google kindly provides on the web!

    EXAMPLE: WebP

    ...Ad Nauseam...

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Browser Warz

      Agreed. And your donwvoters can feck right off.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Browser Warz

        Downvotes are possibly because of the demand that Apple implement Googles formats because Google say it should be used. The same applies to whatever bullshit Google throw into Chrome because they think it will be useful to leach data with.

        Also downvotes because Safari does support WebP.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Browser Warz

      Perhaps the eu should mandate that commercial sites are compliant with all the major browser engines.

      I.e go back to the principle of the web, write pages that work anywhere.

    3. Tessier-Ashpool

      Re: Browser Warz

      Dreadful idea. Apple refused to implement certain Google "standards" because they degrade privacy and make it easier to track users.

  12. 2+2=5 Silver badge

    Thomas proposed this thought experiment:

    > "Once web apps work properly across all devices

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

  13. steviebuk Silver badge

    How have they never

    Been hit with an anti-trust case? We had Microsoft hit by the US in the 90s for the way they played with IE. Apple have been doing this for years yet hit with nothing.

    Having said that Microsoft should be hit again with the way they are playing with Edge on Windows 10 and 11. When they purposely made change brower default settings difficult.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: How have they never

      Because they aren't big enough in tbe phone market to count as a monopoly, whereas MS were big enough in the PC market.

  14. John70

    Would be nice if all these web engines behaved the same way when following the standards instead of having to "fix" the quirks each one has.

  15. Tessier-Ashpool

    We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

    2025: I install a random browser and its own custom engine on my iPhone. It kills iPhone performance, just life Flash did. Even worse, it steals my data and makes my navigation app slow to a crawl.

    Since this *could* happen, I would expect Apple to have a checkbox (ticked by default) that installation of such software voids my warranty.

    Fair enough that you are allowed to do this, but don't expect to install such software willy nilly without agreeing to caveats. And don't expect to be able to take your phone into an Apple store if it goes tits up.

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

      That's utter gibberish.

      Because of the control that Apple have over their devices that you all seem to think is OK, there is no way to install an app without having already voided the warranty by jailbreaking unless Apple approves said app for inclusion in the App Store, and as Apple are of course so wonderful and benevolent and would never let a bad app in to their walled garden how could said app adversely affect your phone?

      1. Tessier-Ashpool

        Re: We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

        You obviously missed the forthcoming legislation that will force Apple to permit use of third party App Stores. The days of Apple-reviewed apps are numbered.

        1. Franco Silver badge

          Re: We live in a lovely world where third party software is completely benign

          Still a strawman argument. If Apple are required to allow third-party app stores you still have a choice to use Apple's appstore or not. There will also be requirements on the third party appstore in regards to app content and safety. If Apple have been required be law to provide these appstores then they cannot legally revoke the warranty if one is used.

  16. Mostly Irrelevant

    This is exactly the same as Microsoft & Internet Explorer. Why has it taken 20 years for the EU to come after Apple for something that's been obviously illegal the whole time?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple can see the end of the app store cash-cow

    Which is what fully-functional web apps will ultimately lead to.

    Speaking as someone with an app that Apple didn't want to go onto iOS, web app was the way around their restrictions.

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