A week after confirming plans for Telegram Premium, the messaging platform’s CEO, Pavel Durov, is again criticizing Apple’s approach to its Safari browser for stifling the efforts of web developers.
Durov would very much like his web-based messaging platform, Telegram Web, to ship as a web-based application rather than a native one, but he’s being prevented from giving users a full experience on Apple’s mobile devices due to limitations. of the iOS Safari browser.
There’s no choice for web developers on Apple’s iPhone and iPad but to use Safari, and features taken for granted on other platforms have yet to be built into iOS.
“We suspect that Apple is intentionally crippling its web apps,” Durov said, “to force its users to download more native apps where Apple is able to charge its 30% commission.”
Late last week, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it would be looking closely at Apple and Google’s market power when it comes to mobile browsers. Enforcement action is a potential outcome, depending on the findings of the investigation.
In April, Durov released a list of limitations in Safari, and while some (such as push notifications) look set to be addressed in the upcoming IOS 16, others remain. The result is that a native app is needed, effectively pushing developers to Apple’s store and its fees and policies.
Readers might point out that Durov may have a vested interest in being able to do more through Safari due to last week’s announcement of the Premium version of Telegram, which would require a paid subscription alongside the free tier. Apple will want its cut. A web application could, in theory, circumvent this.
However, thanks to Apple’s insistence that its Webkit browser engine hides behind the scenes, regardless of browser, getting close to native functionality remains unattainable for now.
Appreciating the efforts of regulators, Durov noted that, “It’s sad that, more than 10 years after the death of Steve Job, a company that once revolutionized the mobile web has become its biggest hurdle.
We asked Apple for comment. ®