Mozilla is 'Extremely Disappointed' With Implementation of Apple's EU Browser Engine Change

In iOS 17.4, Apple is making a number of changes to iOS to comply with the Digital Markets Act in the European Union. One of these updates will see Apple allowing alternate browser engines, with WebKit no longer required for third-party browsers like Firefox and Chrome.

mozilla firefox banner fixed
While support for alternative browser engines sounds like a win for browser companies, Mozilla spokesperson Damiano DeMonte told The Verge that Firefox is "extremely disappointed" with the way Apple is implementing the feature because it does not extend to the iPad.

"We are still reviewing the technical details but are extremely disappointed with Apple's proposed plan to restrict the newly-announced BrowserEngineKit to EU-specific apps. The effect of this would be to force an independent browser like Firefox to build and maintain two separate browser implementations -- a burden Apple themselves will not have to bear."

Firefox uses the Gecko engine and could swap to that on the iPhone, but it would need to continue using WebKit on the iPad. According to DeMonte, Apple's implementation of the DMA does not give consumers "viable choices" because it makes it "as painful as possible" for companies to provide alternatives to Safari.

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Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
21 weeks ago

This is all leaving a really bad taste. If this is their attitude towards developers, why should people keep developing for their platforms ?
Apple are really sending a clear message -- massive and much stronger regulation needs to come in to deal with their behavior.

Responding in these childish ways to regulation is straight pissing into the wind

They are every bit Microsoft of the 2000's, and honestly getting even worse.
Score: 73 Votes (Like | Disagree)
turbineseaplane Avatar
21 weeks ago
Ugh ..

C'mon Apple

What a crock

iPhone, but not iPad?

I'm so sick of Apple's games
Score: 68 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zakarhino Avatar
21 weeks ago
They're right, Apple are playing crybaby -- in particular not allowing alternative browser engines on iPad because it's not 'iOS.' What a ridiculous move.

I've vacillated between supporting EU and Apple in this scenario because I understand both perspectives. Ultimately I think our devices should be as free and open as the end user sees fit.

If Apple were *motivated* to support more app stores and browser engines, they could figure out an elegant way to do so whilst remaining competitive. If this EU system seems clunky and disjointed, know that it's because Apple have intentionally made it so. We live in a world where you have to pick between Android or iOS. Period. Anyone claiming you can simply choose not to use those devices is not a serious person. Apple and Google cannot have a totalitarian say over what these devices can and cannot do.

Look at how many devs choose the Mac App Store when other app stores and independent release systems exist. They choose it because it's genuinely a good option on both the part of the developer and end user.

Also "security concerns" regarding alternative app stores sound mostly unfounded considering what makes iOS devices secure and private is the sandboxing and permissions system which works on a system level, Apple 'reviewing' each app that gets submitted to the App Store is mostly to check for content violations rather than malicious code I think. See macOS as an example and that's an even more difficult system to keep secure/private because software can optionally run helper processes at a root level.
Score: 56 Votes (Like | Disagree)
oofio2461 Avatar
21 weeks ago
Why are browsers required to run on the WebKit engine in the first place? WebKit limits Firefox so much that you can't use a ad blocker, it's just safari reskins at that point.
Score: 48 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ericthered926 Avatar
21 weeks ago
This is all leaving a really bad taste. If this is their attitude towards developers, why should people keep developing for their platforms ?
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
21 weeks ago

Why are browsers required to run on the WebKit engine in the first place? WebKit limits Firefox so much that you can't use a ad blocker, it's just safari reskins at that point.
The whole business model of Apple is basically „keeping everything to ourselves“ in the name of „privacy“ when it’s actually just all about ??? Apple doesn’t care about what is convenient to us as a end user really.

It’s also quite interesting how you hear so little from Alphabet and Meta, which have actually way more gatekeeper restrictions put upon themselves but they are not crying as much about it.

Is it just me or does the whole thing take away their buzz from the Vision Pro?
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)