Skip to main content

Telegram CEO hopes for 'regulatory action' over iPhone browser tech block

Telegram On Iphone
Telegram On Iphone (Image credit: Luke Filipowicz/iMore)

What you need to know

  • Telegram CEO Pavel Durov believes Apple is crippling web apps for its own gain.
  • Durov believes Apple's refusal to allow non-WebKit browsers into the App Store is a decision based on money.
  • A UK authority is already looking into Apple's WebKit requirements.

Telegram CEO Pavel Durov says that he hopes "that regulatory action will follow" a UK government decision to look into the impact of Apple's refusal to allow web browsers to use anything other than WebKit on iPhone and iPad.

Posting in his own Telegram channel, Durov noted that the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is already looking into Apple's App Store requirements for web browsers. In a press release the CMA said that it is "concerned" that Apple's refusal to allow non-WebKit browsers into the App Store is impacting the ability of other browsers to compete.

Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its mobile devices; a restriction that is unique to Apple. The CMA is concerned this severely limits the potential for rival browsers to differentiate themselves from Safari (for example, on features such as speed and functionality) and limits Apple's incentives to invest in its browser engine.

That's something that Durov believes is an important factor here, with Telegram itself aware of issues with iOS Safari that "Apple has been unwilling to fix or improve for years."

I think it's an accurate summary [by the CMA] and hope that regulatory action will follow soon. It's sad that, more than ten years after Steve Job's death, a company that once revolutionized mobile web turned into its most significant roadblock.

App Store

App Store (Image credit: iMore)

Apple and its App Store policies continue to come under pressure from all quarters, not least over the way it prevents users from installing apps without going via the App Store. Doing so would allow non-WebKit browsers, although Apple could simply change its App Store rules to allow such a thing and still maintain control over what is run on people's devices.

Durov, in the same post to Telegram, went so far as to suggest that Apple is crippling web apps to ensure developers ship apps via its store — all as a means to skim 30% off the top of transactions.

We suspect that Apple may be intentionally crippling its web apps to force its users to download more native apps where Apple is able to charge its 30% commission

While for many Safari remains the best iPhone and iPad browser available on the platform, that may only be the case because Apple prevents others from using their own engines. That's an argument that the CMA will surely look into, and it's fair to say that they already have the backing of Telegram's CEO and founder, too.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.