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The European Union wants Apple to give people more choice for their iPhone’s default web browser

TL;DR: Apple’s new browser choice screen for European iPhones aims to promote competition, but many alternative browser makers are dissatisfied with its implementation, citing design flaws that may hinder user choice.

The European Union passed a new law called the Digital Markets Act. This law aims to make the internet more competitive.

As part of following this law, Apple now shows iPhone users in Europe a pop-up screen. This screen appears when someone taps the Safari browser icon.

The pop-up lists other web browsers that can be set as the default instead of Safari.

Sounds good, right? More choice is better for users.

But there’s a problem

Many of the companies who make these other browsers are not happy.

They do not like how Apple designed this browser choice feature.

One complaint: The pop-up appears after you try to open Safari. Some think this gives Safari an unfair advantage.

“It starts from you clicking Safari. Which, I think all of us agree, that’s the wrong spot,” said Jon von Tetzchner. He is the CEO of Vivaldi, which makes a web browser.

Another issue: The pop-up doesn’t give details about the different browser options. This could be confusing for people who aren’t very tech-savvy.

Some companies want Apple to provide more info. Things like what makes each browser unique.

One more gripe: The pop-up shows up even if you already picked a different default browser in your iPhone settings. This seems unnecessary.

“Giving people information about the choice, and also information about what they’re choosing is important,” said Kush Amlani from Mozilla, the maker of Firefox.

But not everyone is upset

A few companies with browsers on the list are more positive.

“We believe that Apple’s approach to presenting the browser choice screen is fair and acceptable,” said Andrew Moroz Frost, founder of Aloha Browser.

He likes that the order of the browsers on the pop-up is randomized. This seems more fair.

Richard Socher, CEO of You.com, is just happy to be included as an option.

So will this browser choice pop-up get more people to switch? It’s too early to say for sure.

Companies need more time to measure the impact on their user numbers.

Looking ahead

Some hope Apple will eventually offer similar browser choice pop-ups for iPhone users outside of Europe.

But don’t expect speedy action.

The European Commission already announced an investigation into the browser choice screen. They want to see if it truly gives users a fair choice.

This investigation could take up to a year.

The story of more web browser options on iPhones is still being written.

Stay tuned.


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