Apple and the Digital Markets Act

On the 6th March those companies that have been designated as "gatekeepers" under the European Commission's Digital Market Act (DMA), need to finally comply with it.

The DMA has two intersting effects for web, both affecting Apple. Firstly, it forces Apple to allow alternate application stores to the one owned by Apple. Secondly, it also forces Apple to allow browser engines other than its own WebKit to be installed on iOS devices. Apple, as any cooperation worth its salt does, has taken these rules and interpreted them in the most mean spirited manner possible beyond simply not implementing the new rules at all.

A lot has already noted about Apples implementation of the first effect allowing alternate application stores. This has been largely covered in more business orientated publications due the Core Technology Fee it will charge to all installations not done through Apple's AppStore.

For those of us interested in an open web, one where mobile apps are not needed in order to offer relatively basic functionality, of far more significance is Apple's approach to the second requirement: allow third party browser engines to run on iOS. Apple's implementation in dealing with this is to basically break Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for those who are in the EU. As much as Apple fears alternative application stores, it fears an open web even more. One in which they have no control over which applications can be run on an iOS device and by control I mean profit from.

Advocating for an open web, means I have signed this open letter to Apple. I encourage you to do the same. For more information on this issue, read this article from Open Web Advocacy as well as this one from Alex Russell. Note that Alex works for Microsoft, so whilst his points are still valid, they might not be fully impartial.

The Commmission's decision is eagerly awaited in March.