EU Considers Antitrust Investigation Against Apple’s Ban on PWAs

The European Union (EU) is contemplating an antitrust investigation into Apple's ban on Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) in the EU. This move is seen as a precursor to more comprehensive investigations.

Apple has announced that it will ban PWAs in the EU starting next month. PWAs are a feature that allows companies to create apps that can be accessed as web pages with just a button displayed on the phone's desktop. Apple claims that the ban on PWAs is to comply with the Digital Markets Act, as browsers other than Safari would expose users to security and privacy risks. Apple stated that this move would only affect a small number of people. However, this move also eliminates a way for developers to avoid the 30% "Apple tax".

After installing the iOS 17.4 Beta2 update, European Apple users can no longer launch PWA applications from the homepage and can only open them in Safari. As a result, PWA applications are directly downgraded to pure website shortcuts. This change significantly affects the user experience and functionality of PWA applications.

Critics argue that the move undermines web apps as a viable alternative to native iOS apps. The EU competition watchdog questioned developers last week to determine the impact of the change, which appeared to be a precursor to an in-depth investigation into Apple.

The European Commission told the Financial Times, "We are indeed reviewing the compliance programs of all gatekeepers, including Apple. In this case, we are particularly concerned about the issue of Progressive Web Apps and confirm that we have sent information requests to Apple and app developers who could provide useful information for our assessment."

The potential antitrust investigation into Apple's ban on PWAs in the EU could have significant implications for the tech giant and the broader digital ecosystem. It remains to be seen how this situation will unfold and what impact it will have on Apple, developers, and users in the EU.

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