I doubt it has anything to do with protecting IP or trying to make a buck. Acrobat works for the vast majority of users (I checked – 2020 ain’t the year of Linux on the Desktop)
Putting the form in a fillable Acrobat file prevents stuff from being accidentally removed or changed, and results in a pretty lightweight file for data transfer – we do that all the time for work.
So, as @edavignon said earlier, it comes down to resource allocation and priorities. So the question becomes, if you have 40 hours of dev time in a week, do you want it used to fix this, or to work on the laundry list of issues in the new activity logs? Spending time working on one thing means the time isn’t spent working on something else, after all, and someone has to defend the priorities they’ve set.