Telegram Founder Claims Apple Intentionally Blocks Web Apps on iOS

Pavel Durov, founder of the instant messaging service Telegram, has accused Apple of “intentionally crippling” web apps on iOS.

As 9To5Mac reports(Opens in a new window)the accusation was made by Durov in a public channel message(Opens in a new window) on Telegram. He thinks Apple is doing this on purpose to “force its users to download more native apps where Apple is able to charge its 30% commission”.

Telegram is offered as an app in the App Store(Opens in a new window), but having public channels without imposed content restrictions doesn’t sit well with Apple’s app review team. So it’s no surprise that a web app version of Telegram exists in order to avoid such scrutiny, but it’s hampered due to limitations that Apple either imposed or simply didn’t take the time to to correct.

In April, a list of problems in 10 points(Opens in a new window) with iOS Safari browser was posted by developer Telegram Web. They include issues with text fields, context menus, random reloading, smooth scrolling, blurring effects, visual artifacts, missing shared workers, missing core methods, and missing notifications push. Apple also insists that all browsers on iOS use Apple’s WebKit browser engine, so all iOS browsers suffer from the same limitations/problems.

Durov’s complaint will likely fall on deaf ears at Apple, but he may not need the company to listen. In the UK, regulator the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) concluded on Friday that Apple and Google “hold all the cards”(Opens in a new window) when it comes to mobile browsers. CMA reports state that “we all rely on browsers to use the internet on our phones…Right now, choice in this space is very limited and it’s having real impacts – preventing innovation and reducing web application competition”.

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The CMA report paints a grim picture, but it is currently unclear whether regulatory action will be taken based on the evidence it presents. Durov hopes that “regulatory action will soon follow” and underlines “It is sad that, more than ten years after the death of Steve Job, a company that once revolutionized the mobile web has become its most significant obstacle.”

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