A new organization is trying to challenge Apple, calling for the company to allow third-party browser engines on iOS.
The Open Web Advocacy (OWA) is a group of developers who want Apple to crack open its walled garden, at least in the context of iOS browsers. While iOS has a number of browsers on the App Store, Apple does now allow those browsers to use their own rendering engines. Instead all of them are required to use the same engine that powers Safari. Whether a user prefers Firefox, Brave, Opera, Chrome, or anything else, they’re essentially just using a differently themed version of Apple’s native browser.
The OWA wants to challenge the status quo, calling on “regulatory or legislative change” to help ensure the open nature of the web, and protect the ability of developers to use technologies to “write once, deploy anywhere.”
The OWA says the #AppleBrowserBan makes development far more costly, and inhibits developers’ ability to easily create cross-platform applications.
Critically this browser ban prevents the emergence of an open and free universal platform for apps, where developers can build their application once and have it work across all consumer devices, be it desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. Instead it forces companies to create multiple separate applications to run on each platform, significantly raising the cost and complexity of development and maintenance. These costs are in addition to the 15% 30% tax charged by the App Store. This greater cost is ultimately passed on to consumers in the form of higher fees, more bug prone applications and the applications not being available on all platforms.
It remains to be seen if the OWA will be able to gain serious traction, although founding members of the group have already been interviewed in major publications. In the current climate, the group certainly has a much better chance than they would have several years ago.