The Financial Times has launched a new web-based counterpart of its iOS application, as it refuses to share revenue from subscriptions of the digital version of its paper with Apple.
Designed to circumvent a rule Cupertino places on developers to hand over 30 per cent of all revenue generated through in-app purchases from applications distributed on the App Store, including those that offer subscription-based content such as newspapers and magazines, the HTML5 optimised site works much the same way as the standalone application currently available for the iDevices.
FT wrote on its blog: “No more updates to the existing app will be published from the iTunes store.
“Readers wishing to use the latest version of the app should always navigate to http://app.ft.com from their device’s web browser.”
The publication is reportedly unhappy with the arrangement and is even prepared to have the app pulled altogether unless Apple is willing to change its policy. Although we are in dark as to the specifics of the FT’s demands, whether or not it wants to keep 100 per cent of the revenue or give a smaller cut than 30 per cent.
Deal or no deal
Earlier in February, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, said: “Our philosophy is simple - when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 per cent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 per cent and Apple earns nothing.”
What it means is that existing subscriptions to FT.com are unaffected by the policy, but any new subscriptions brought in by the app through the App Store require the FT to give Apple its fair share.
Even if it fails to make Apple reconsider and is shown the door from the App Store, the FT's gamble might ultimately be for the best for the publication as it is more economical to have a universal web-app that is compatible cross-platform and updatable easily.
Steve Pinches, of FT, said: “Developing multiple ‘native’ apps for various products is logistically and financially unmanageable. By having one core codebase, we can roll the FT app onto multiple platforms at once.”