Telefonica: ‘Apple imposing itself on the mobile web’

Telefonica and Mozilla are banding together launching a campaign to challenge Apple’s dominance of the mobile web, with brands such as the Financial Times already experimenting with their alternative suggestions to mobile apps. 


The mobile operator, owner of the O2 brand, kicked off the campaign yesterday (3 September) dubbing it ‘The Open Agenda’ with representatives of the pair of companies openly criticising Apple’s dominance of mobile web usage.

Speaking at Campus Party yesterday, hosted by the operator’s digital arm Telefonica Digital at The O2, Daniel Appelquist, Telefonica’s open web advocate, argued app store owners such as Apple as are “imposing themselves on the value chain”.

Speaking on a panel session, he said: “There’s some more forces working towards a closed future – particularly with apps – at present. We’re launching a campaign to promote a civil discourse for a more open internet and how it can have a positive impact on government and people.”

As part of the campaign Telefonica, which has a vested interest in wresting control of mobile web usage from app store owners such as Apple and Google, as well as open source operating system community Linux and Mozilla are encouraging businesses and government authorities to adopt an “open web” approach to their online activities.  

This involves encouraging them to develop their websites using HTML5 web code, which allows brands to develop just one site that performs equally well on a desktop, tablet or smartphone, as opposed to mobile apps – primarily through its tie-up with Firefox provider Mozilla.

The trio also intend to advance “The Open Agenda” by encouraging brands and media companies to realise the potential of abandoning the “walled garden” of using operating systems controlled by Apple and Google.

Speaking at yesterday’s panel session, Christian Heilmann, a web evangelist at Mozilla, said: “We have to get better at articulating to people that you don’t have to pay [Apple and other app store owners] to play.”

Telefonica and Mozilla have already produced a series of mobile devices that use the Firefox web browser as an operating system – as an alternative to Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android.

According to Applequist the Financial Times, which famously withdrew its suite of apps from Apple’s App Store, is already experimenting with the technology.

Heilmann described the motivation for the campaign as providing consumers and companies as maintaining the original open web principles of the worldwide web. 

He said: “We invented the web so we wouldn’t need apps everywhere. It’s incredible, we’re going back to that!”

Telefonica and Mozilla’s partnership is part of a wider cross-industry initiative with parties such as W3C, Linux and training academy Decoded in order to promote open web standards plus encourage large organisations to share data with third parties in order to promote innovation.