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As the UK competition authority proposes action on iOS as part of an investigation, Apple believes the changes would turn its operating system into an “Android clone”. The CMA wants, among other things, to remove the WebKit requirement for browsers on iOS.

Source: Unsplash – Laurenz Heymann

Apple is in the crosshairs of several competition authorities for its practices related to iOS. There Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) UK, which is the competition regulator, considers the WebKit requirement on iOS to be an anti-competitive practice. According to Apple, if it were to do away with this requirement and change its practices, it would amount to making iOS a ” android clone“, As reported Register. For the CMA, Apple and Google form a “ duopole in the UK mobile market.

A WebKit removal being discussed

As a reminder, WebKit is a rendering engine developed by Apple and required for any web browser that wants to be accepted on the App Store. However, this engine is the subject of much criticism: some find that it makes all browsers similar, which tends to favor Safari, the default application. Others believe that WebKit limits browser performance compared to the power available on Apple-branded devices.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max // Source: Anthony Wonner – Frandroid

As part of an investigation into the substantial and well-established market power From Apple, the CMA proposed one main solution: removing the WebKit requirement in iOS. The authority is also working more broadly on mobile browsers and cloud gaming . In a statement last December, the CMA said it found “evidence that the quality of all browsers on Apple devices is limited by the slower pace of development of WebKit“. It also implies that the developers canceled some planned features because the engine did not support them. In addition, this results in higher development costs for companies, due to the inherent bugs in WebKit.

Apple refuses to make iOS more like Android

The mediaRegisterRemember that in December Apple had submitted a response that has just been published. For the iOS developer, the removal of this requirementit would prevent uniform updates of apps that render web content, as Android does.When the CMA would like alternative app stores, Apple replies that “would undermine the strong protections for users provided by Apple’s business modeland that it would reduce consumer choice.

Samsung One UI 5 vs. iOS 16 // Source: TechDroider

Apple is fighting hard against the decisions that the UK competition authority is trying to impose.Registerspecifies that after the CMA’s statement in December, Apple appealed at the end of January before theCompetition Appeals Tribunalfrom the UK The company asks that the investigation be considered”invalid and without legal effect“: according to her, the CMA would have exceeded its provisions when opening said investigation.

Apple may have no choice but to change its alleged practices.anticompetitive»

The media also teach us that “the Japan Fair Trade Commission has recommended that Apple and Google include third-party app stores on their platforms.An iOS 17 presentation is expected for WWDC 2023 next June. According to rumors, Apple could submit to the recommendations of various authorities to compete with this future version of the iPhone OS.

What if the iPhone 14 was the last to have physical buttons? // Source: Apple

The other major coercion comes from the European Union. In 2024, the DSA and the DMA will enter into force, two texts that seek to regulate digital companies more forcefully, particularly their competition practices. The precise consequences on Apple specifically are not yet known, but we can expect the brand to be forced to open up iOS to alternative app stores. Additionally, messaging services will need to be interoperable, which will affect iMessage. Finally, the EU had considered in the past that the Apple payment system was an abuse of a dominant position. Also, some developers are already preparing for this opening, such as Google, which is working on a version of Chrome for iOS without WebKit.

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