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The EU may investigate Apple for removing web apps from the home screen

The EU may investigate Apple for removing web apps from the home screen


Image: Francis MS Careñas (Reuters)

European Union regulators have taken initial steps to investigate Apple's decision to stop supporting web apps in the EU, the Financial Times reported.

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The European Commission has contacted Apple and app developers to better understand the impact of this move.

A spokesperson for the European Commission told Quartz in a statement that it is indeed reviewing the compliance packages of all gatekeepers, including Apple. In that context, we can confirm that we are specifically looking into the issue of progressive web apps and have submitted requests for information to Apple and app developers who can provide us with information to help us evaluate.

Apple announced this month that it will officially end support for Progressive Web Apps, also known as Homepage Web Apps, in iOS 17.4 in the EU starting in March. These web-based apps previously could be installed and launched from the iPhone home screen, send push notifications, and store memory separately from the web browser.

More important to antitrust regulators, these apps were a way for developers to circumvent Apple's App Store and associated fees. With the new changes, these apps work more like bookmarks.

Apple blames new EU law for change

When asked for comment, Apple sent Quartz an earlier statement that the change was made to comply with the EU's new Digital Markets Act (DMA). The new law aims to regulate large platforms, known as gatekeepers, in online markets such as the App Store in order to make the market more competitive for smaller players. In Apple's case, the DMA would require the tech giant to enable full support for third-party browser engines, which the company claims is impractical.

In a Q&A with developers, Apple said that given DMA's other demands, it's not practical to open up progressive web app functionality to third parties without putting users at risk of security breaches. .

This change is expected to impact a small number of users. Still, Apple regrets the impact this change, made as part of its efforts to become DMA-compliant, may have on home screen web app developers and users, he said in a statement.




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