U.K. Regulator to Investigate Apple and Google’s Mobile Web Browser Dominance

Press release from the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority:

Responses to the consultation, which have been published today, reveal substantial support for a fuller investigation into the way that Apple and Google dominate the mobile browser market and how Apple restricts cloud gaming through its App Store. Many of those came from browser vendors, web developers, and cloud gaming service providers who say that the status quo is harming their businesses, holding back innovation, and adding unnecessary costs.

Web developers have complained that Apple’s restrictions, combined with suggested underinvestment in its browser technology, lead to added costs and frustration as they have to deal with bugs and glitches when building web pages, and have no choice but to create bespoke mobile apps when a website might be sufficient.

Mike Wuerthele, writing about the investigation for AppleInsider:

Another factors cited in the investigation are “suggested underinvestment in its browser technology” leading to added costs for developers forcing developers to create mobile apps to work around problems. On the surface, this seems contradictory to the mobile gaming aspect of the investigation.

It’s not contradictory at all. The unifying thread between mobile game publishers (especially cloud gaming) and web developers is that they want to route around the iOS and Android app stores (especially Apple’s). What they’d like Apple to do is either (a) make WebKit on iOS so robust that it could be used to make games and apps that are every bit as capable as native games and apps, or (b) allow third-party rendering engines (Chrome’s, of course, being the only one they actually care about), including, of course, the ability to save web apps to the home screen using those third-party rendering engines.

If you like using Electron apps on the Mac, you’d love the future of iOS these complainants are clamoring for government regulators to mandate.

Wednesday, 23 November 2022