Cryptee, Open Web Advocacy & EU vs Apple: Part 2

6 min read

Hello Everyone,

John here, back again with some amazing updates.

A lot has happened in the past week, namely: together with the Open Web Advocacy (OWA) group we stood against Apple to stop them from killing web apps in the EU on iOS 17.4, and guess what?


We stopped a $3T monolithic company named after a fruit from bullying businesses like Cryptee in the EU. How? lots. of. caffeine. But, mainly thanks to the amazing people at the Open Web Advocacy (OWA) group who sleeplessly worked for nights in a row with us (and many other EU developers) from multiple different timezones.


First, we reached out to the European Commission's Digital Markets Act (DMA) team, and talked about how Apple's trying to use its monopoly position to essentially kill Web Apps and businesses in the EU. European Comission's DMA team sent us (and other impacted developers) a questionnaire, and asked what would happen to our business if Apple were to try to kill Web Apps in the EU.

While the European Commission was reading through Cryptee's 40-page long response, together with the OWA team, we launched an open letter to Tim Cook. In mere 48 hours, we got some significant signatories including :

Two European Parliament Members (MEPs) (Karen Melchior & Patrick Breyer); a number of significant EU companies/organizations such as SwissLife, Tchibo, Mastodon, Berlin University of the Arts, Open State Foundation - Netherlands;

And individuals (advocating in their personal capacity) who work for W3C, Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, Vivaldi, BBC, Financial Times, ​​Red Hat, Oracle, Amazon, Wikimedia, Vercel, Netlify, Shopify, Spotify, AirBNB, Cloudflare, Meta, Chase, Squarespace, Reddit, Atlassian, Maersk, Paypal, Salesforce, Block, Adobe, eBay, Zynga,, thoughtworks; and thousands of other developers and organizations from over 100 countries.

THAT attracted some media attention, leading both Cryptee and the OWA to spend hours on the phone giving interviews. (9to5mac, TechCrunch, Financial Times, Reuters, Nasdaq, Forbes, Ars Technica, The Verge, MacRumors, Apple Insider, US News, The Register, Mashable, Engadget, Mac Observer, Cult of Mac Silicon Republic, Mac Daily News, Slashdot to name a few...)

And 24 hours later, Apple backed off.

While all this was happening, Cryptee got a short cameo in Bruce Lawson's amazing presentation at the Fusion Meetup:

In the presentation, Bruce had a hilarious placeholder slide that pretty much predicted the future. more or less :

Which he can ... now ... after the presentation ... replace with the actual quote from the European Commission:

Here's a highlight from Bruce's hilarious presentation:

Thanks to Stuart Langridge for taking this amazing photo & creating this amazing meme!


Apple backed off from killing web apps, but the fight continues.

Today, Apple released iOS 17.4. While this is a stunning victory for the web ensuring PWAs continue to work for EU residents, it is just one part of a longer battle.

Since iOS’s inception, Apple has essentially banned third party browsers from competing on iOS, meaning all browsers currently on iOS are essentially re-skinned versions of Safari.

Further Apple has set a ceiling on Web App functionality by denying them access to key features they need to compete. Apple has deliberately ensured that web apps are hidden in the operating system, and have not provided the ability to show an install button as they do with native apps.

Combined with significant bugs, this has suppressed the uptake of Web Apps on mobile devices globally. Despite this, a significant number of consumers and organizations like us at Cryptee, use Web Apps as a secure, open, interoperable and untaxed alternative to Apple’s and Google’s proprietary App Stores.

This has also been noted by regulators too. The reason the DMA states to open up browser engine competition (and iOS is the only major consumer operating system that bans competing engines) was to prevent gatekeepers from stopping third party browsers using their own engines to bring features to “web software applications”. This is stated in the act itself:

When gatekeepers operate and impose web browser engines, they are in a position to determine the functionality and standards that will apply not only to their own web browsers, but also to competing web browsers and, in turn, to web software applications
Digital Markets Act

The fight is not over and will not be over until Apple allows both browsers and web apps to compete fairly on all their platforms globally. Cryptee and Open Web Advocacy (OWA) group will continue to work with both the EU Commission and regulators worldwide.

At the moment, Apple made an exception for Web Apps, and said that they can only continue to run using Safari/WebKit. But we think this will change. If you're interested in the topic, our friend, and OWA member Roderick Gadellaa summarized our thoughts about this in an amazing blog post, which I'd encourage everyone to read.


First, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the European Commission's DMA team. Thank you for protecting businesses like ours in the EU, hearing our voices, spending many hours helping us, and challenging Apple and other big tech companies. It brings tears of joy into my eyes to think that we are so lucky to have amazing and dedicated people like yourselves in the EU helping defend our rights. Thank you for taking the time, asking the right (and hard) questions, understanding the core of the issue, for your thoughtful follow-up emails, everything. I'm deeply moved and forever grateful.

I would also like to thank our users, members of the European Parliament, signatories, journalists and technologists who heard our voice, helped us spread the word and make some positive change happen in a record 48 hours.

And finally, I would like to thank everyone at OWA for spending countless sleepless nights working with us, hopping on calls after calls, waking up to thousands of messages, and being there for us right when we needed.

Would you like to help us continue to make a difference?


If you'd like to continue to help OWA defend your rights

You can head over here to donate to them : OWA is an organization of wonderful and kind humans defending your rights. And they could really use your help right now.

If you would like to help us defend your rights, subscribe to a paid plan.

Cryptee is a tiny company out of Estonia, with very limited resources, and we've been doing our best to fight for your rights and keeping you safe since 2017. Everything we do is thanks to your help and paid support.

Unlike countless other companies in the industry, we don't have investors or venture capital firms backing us. Only your your subscriptions. We're proudly bootstrapped, independent, profitable and sustainable, and all this is thanks to your help and paid support.

If you'd like us to keep doing what we're doing for many more years to come, and help us fight Apple, other tech giants and their unfair policies, subscribe to one of our paid plans, it would help us a lot!

In fact for those of you who are new customers, here's a special coupon code that will give you 10% off for lifetime on all our paid plans :


As the old saying goes, one Cryptee subscription a day, keeps the Apple away.

If you read all the way down here, thank you for sticking with us and helping us & OWA defend your rights!

We got some exciting announcements for you on the horizon, stay tuned for more!

All the very best from the snowy winter-wonderland Estonia, Europe

— John Ozbay

or grab our rss feed