Telegram founder alleges Apple 'intentionally cripples' web apps by not updating WebKit

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,581   +1,075
Staff member
A hot potato: Apple has seen virtually no end to antitrust allegations over the last few years. Its defense against Epic Games was mostly successful, but regulators in the US and abroad have been probing the company constantly. The latest accusation is that the Cupertino giant is intentionally sabotaging web applications to force users to download native versions of the app so it can impose its 30-percent Apple Tax.

According to Telegram founder Pavel Durov, Apple is "intentionally crippling" web apps on iPhones to cause more people to download native versions of the app so it can collect its 30-percent commission. While Telegram does have an app listed in the App Store, Apple guidelines do not allow it to have unrestricted public channels.

As a workaround, Telegram developed a web-based app that bypasses these rules. However, it allegedly does not run smoothly because of known issues in WebKit that Apple has ignored to fix for as long as 15 years. Durov pointed out these problems in an open Telegram post back in April.

Durov claims that modern web apps can allow a "feature-rich" experience like push notifications, video stickers, Opus audio format, and other functionality. In all, there were 10 points that Durov asked Apple to address that would make Safari run web apps as smoothly as Firefox and Chrome do. Apple has not responded.

So why not just use the mobile versions of Chrome or Firefox? That would be a good idea, but according to Durov, WebKit is the core of all browsers on iOS because Apple requires that developers use it. Essentially, Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and any other browser on iOS is just a skin for WebKit. So until it is upgraded to modern standards, there is nothing a developer can do to improve the performance of its web app.

Apple seems reluctant to do anything, but Durov remains hopeful, primarily due to regulators. He points out that last week the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a statement concluding that Apple and Google hold dominant authority over how consumers use their mobile devices.

"Apple bans alternatives to its own browser engine on its mobile devices; a restriction that is unique to Apple," said the consumer watchdog. "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."

However, the CMA's statement did not mention taking or proposing regulatory action. Despite that, Durov remains optimistic that the problem will eventually get sorted.

"I think [the CMA paints] an accurate summary and hope that regulatory action will follow soon," he said. "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."

Image credit: Ivan Radic

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DZillaXx

Posts: 535   +683
Apple isn't a monopoly. If you don't like their business practices, I suggest you do what I do -- buy a different phone.

iOS is pretty crappy, which is a huge reason why I don't use an iPhone. It honestly is a worse cell phone for people who like tech.

That being said, Apple is by far one of the worst companies out there. They net in the billions every quarter, but do very little to contribute to infrastructure. The entire company is a joke
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,214   +879
iOS is pretty crappy, which is a huge reason why I don't use an iPhone. It honestly is a worse cell phone for people who like tech.

That being said, Apple is by far one of the worst companies out there. They net in the billions every quarter, but do very little to contribute to infrastructure. The entire company is a joke

That's what gets me about people raving about Apple - they epitomize pure selfish greed - they share very little - they hamper progress, they leech .
How many times to you read Apple researchers did this or that in an open environment - They are the pure epitome of greed - they care about nothing but profits - Steve Jobs had the power to improve the world - he did nothing .

They do nothing to promote open standards - work with other big players - but they will grab the freely offered spoils are privatise it they can get away with it.

They all image- and no heart

Rant over from known Apple hater

Even META does far more open stuff and research papers that are shared
 

nnguy2

Posts: 492   +1,025
Once agian free market people defending Apple when they are engaging in anti-competitive practices. Did not see that coming :eyes:
 

Dsirius

Posts: 253   +470
Reading articles and comments for some time (years) on this website, which has great and quality content, I can clearly see that, time to time, there are some trolls which will do whatever they are compelled or payed to do, meaning trolling on most articles, regardless of how scandalous or ill-founded their affirmations are. So it is time to acknowledge and pointing out this dark pattern behavior, keep it under control and move on to further enjoy the valuable news and infos which we get.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
Once agian free market people defending Apple when they are engaging in anti-competitive practices
When a company offers you a better price than all its competitors, it's engaging in anti-competitive behavior. Do you believe that should be banned as well?

Under the legal definition of anti-competitive practices, offering a lower price is not prescribed behavior. Nor is what Apple's doing, either. How do you believe it's hurting you? If you don't like Safari on your iPhone, use a different browser -- or a different phone entirely.

You should learn about duopolies. There's more to industry power than simply monopolies.
Oops! You didn't read the article. The other half of your purported duopoly is Google's Android. And what's Android's preferred browser? Chrome -- which has the "feature-rich environment" that this article accused Apple of failing to provide.
 

nnguy2

Posts: 492   +1,025
When a company offers you a better price than all its competitors, it's engaging in anti-competitive behavior. Do you believe that should be banned as well?

Under the legal definition of anti-competitive practices, offering a lower price is not prescribed behavior. Nor is what Apple's doing, either. How do you believe it's hurting you? If you don't like Safari on your iPhone, use a different browser -- or a different phone entirely.

Oops! You didn't read the article. The other half of your purported duopoly is Google's Android. And what's Android's preferred browser? Chrome -- which has the "feature-rich environment" that this article accused Apple of failing to provide.
You'd have a better argument if you don't resort to strawman and fallacies.
 

bviktor

Posts: 973   +1,425
Yup, lets just defend these trillion dollar companies when they do scummy things, instead of hold them accountable when they employ anti-competitive/consumer practices. How dare people expect better.
Uh, you're basing your far-reaching comments on the allegations of a random someone. Without any proof, obviously.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,554   +2,815
If you don't like Safari on your iPhone, use a different browser -- or a different phone entirely.
Probably worth reading the article, Apple ban anything other than webkit. So other browsers are just skins for Safari essentially.

Apple are literally the only company doing this. Android, Windows, Linux, you can pick and choose your browser as you see fit. Even Apples MacOS you can pick, it's just iOS it's forced by policy to be Webkit only.
 

Endymio

Posts: 1,827   +1,895
Probably worth reading the article, Apple ban anything other than webkit.
Probably worth reading the quotes to which you're replying. You always have the option to purchase a different phone. If you don't like Pepsi, buy Coke instead. Don't cry to your Congressman to force Pepsi to taste like Coke.

Apple are literally the only company doing this.
And thus dies the "duopoly" myth. What's ironic is that, if all Apple's competitor's were doing this, you might have a point.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,020   +3,969
TechSpot Elite
Uh, you're basing your far-reaching comments on the allegations of a random someone. Without any proof, obviously.
Defending Apple by pretending that what they're doing is only allegations. Right! I forgot that webkit wasn't the only official (and forced) web backend on iOS... /s 🤦‍♂️

It's amazing what mental hoops Apple fanboys will jump through to defend a company that doesn't care about them.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,554   +2,815
Probably worth reading the quotes to which you're replying. You always have the option to purchase a different phone. If you don't like Pepsi, buy Coke instead. Don't cry to your Congressman to force Pepsi to taste like Coke.
Right, so when Microsoft was forced to allow other browsers, the argument "you could just buy something from Apple or use Linux" didn't hold up in court. Why does it hold up now with iOS?