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Developers push back against Apple ‘ban’ on third-party browsers

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A group of developers is fighting Apple’s Safari browser dominance on its iPhone and iPad devices, insisting the company is involved in the anti-competitive practices.

Open Web Advocacy (OWA), a UK-based developers group, has a self-stated purpose of enabling third-party access to all the features that Safari enjoys but which are not available in Apple’s WebKit browser engine; WebKit is the core software component of Safari browser.

“The only way for developers to create stable, capable applications is to invest in Apple’s proprietary platform, which it taxes and retains exclusive control over,” OWA wrote in a new paper.

“Browser vendors are not allowed to ship their browsers, which they have spent hundreds of thousands of hours developing,” OWA continued. “Instead [developers] are forced to produce a separate browser, which is essentially a thin wrapper or skin around the WebKit engine in Apple’s own browser, Safari.”

As the default browser on iOS and iPad OS devices, Safari claims 39.4% of all mobile browser traffic, according to web analytics service StatCounter. Google’s Chrome browser remains No. 1 with 46.3% of traffic.

On desktops, it’s an entirely different story. Chrome still holds the top spot — by a long shot, at 65.38% — with Microsoft Edge now used on 9.54% of desktops worldwide, just behind Safari at 9.84%. Mozilla Firefox brings up the rear with 9.18% market share.

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