Antitrust investigation: Apple defends browser compulsion on iPhone and iPad

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Apple has publicly commented on the significant browser limitations of the iOS operating system. The in-house Safari browser adds an "essential part of the iPhone functionality", is "integrated into the operating system kernel" and offers "industry-leading security and privacy features," said Apple. These are the reasons that the browser is set as a standard browser on iPhone and iPad and can not be deleted.

Although third-party browsers may be distributed through the App Store, they can not be used as a standard browser and must also use Apple's WebKit (WebKit JavaScript) web engine. This serves the protection of privacy and security, writes Apple in the meanwhile published letter to the deputies, Malicious websites have found vulnerabilities in other browser engines and would exploit them for attacks.

The WebKit coercion Apple can quickly fix vulnerabilities by security updates – regardless of which browser users use. Since WebKit is open source, third parties could also contribute to improvements in the engine, Apple continues.

Responding to MEPs' question as to whether Apple's restrictions still apply when another browser offers better privacy and security features, Apple merely replied that it was "typically" not the case that competing browsers protect users "just as adequately as WebKit." At the same time, the iPhone group had to admit that certain WebKit features are reserved for Safari and currently can not be used by third-party browsers, including support for the standard WebRTC (real-time communication / videoconferencing) and the Technik Service Workers, which enables more powerful web apps ,

The Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives has launched an antitrust investigation against domestic IT companies in the summer, including Apple as well as Google, Facebook and Amazon. They wanted to "conduct a full investigation of these platforms," ​​said David Cicilline, chairman of the Subcommittee on Competition. The goal is to "develop a deeper understanding of how the market fails". The corporations have apparently received extensive questionnaires.

The committee also found Apple's interest in Apple's revenue share in selling digital content in apps, the competition between pre-installed Apple apps and third-party apps, and Apple's control over parts and repairs in the letter to Apple. In the last ten years, no repairs have been made, Apple emphasized in the letter of reply – the cost of offering repair services exceeds the generated turnover. Details were not mentioned.

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(LBE)





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