Telegram founder Pavel Durov again criticized Apple on his public channel on the platform. This time, Durov claimed that Apple limits what web developers can do in iOS by intentionally limiting the functionality of web apps, which certainly impacts the web version of Telegram.
Although Telegram is available on the App Store, the platform has had issues with Apple’s review process in the past due to Telegram’s public channels, which have no content restrictions. To circumvent some of these restrictions, Telegram also offers a full web version with virtually all the same features available in the mobile version – except it’s also limited on iOS.
The CEO of Telegram pointed out how several developers are complaining that “Safari is killing the web” due to its limitations. Durov also highlights an article published by the web developers at Telegram in April with a list of 10 issues regarding the iOS version of Safari, which lacks features such as push notifications, VP8 and VP9 codecs, frame rates high refreshes and visual artifacts.
For Durov, the reason Apple “cripples” web apps is to force users to download apps from the App Store, so the company can collect a commission from developers.
We suspect that Apple is intentionally crippling its web apps to force its users to download more native apps where Apple is able to charge its 30% commission.
Apple under investigation for WebKit restrictions
Unlike macOS, iOS does not allow developers to choose a different web engine for their apps. Instead, every app that needs a web implementation should use Apple’s WebKit. And unsurprisingly, Apple does indeed limit what web apps can do compared to native apps.
Last week, the UK government concluded after a year-long study that Apple “limits the potential of competing browsers to differentiate themselves from Safari”. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) believes that these restrictions “inhibit” the capabilities of web applications on iPhone and iPad devices.
Although the decision has not yet been made, the UK government is now considering launching another antitrust investigation against Apple. Of course, it’s worth noting that iOS 16 addresses some of these limitations, as it now includes web push notifications.
More recently, Telegram CEO Pavel Durov confirmed that the platform will have a “Premium” paid subscription that will unlock more features for Telegram users. Although the price is unknown, the subscription will be available on iOS, which means that Telegram will probably have to pay the app store commission.
As such, having a full web version of Telegram available on iOS is not only important for the business in terms of functionality, but also to circumvent Apple’s fees.
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