Financial Times Won't Give Apple A Cut, Drops iOS for Web App

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    The Financial Times, a major business newspaper, has decided to drop its iOS app in favor of an HTML5 based web app specifically designed for the iPhone and iPad. The move is in response to Apple's new App Store Subscription requirements that state Apple must get a 30% cut of any subscription sold on iTunes and that publications must offer subscriptions through the App Store.


    In a email to subscribers today, the FT didn't mention the App Store at all, instead touting "valuable improvements" including claims that the web app will be faster and more up-to-date. The interesting part came when the email mentioned the existing app (emphasis added):
    Actually, neither the Financial Times nor anyone else knows what is going to happen at the end of the month to subscription-based apps that don't align with Apple's App Store guidelines. The deadline for subscription based apps to roll out their offerings is June 30. Quoted in the New York Times, Rob Grimshaw, managing director of said:
    They might not know what's going to happen if they don't play ball, but it's Apple's sandbox and the FT isn't sitting around idly. The new web app seems to be very similar to the current iOS App and thus may be able to provide a very similar experience without having to share revenue with Apple. The Financial Times' loyal readership is likely to follow the publication to its web app in significant numbers, meaning that the FT may not be missing out on much by bypassing iTunes.

    As the first major publication to drop its iOS app over Apple's subscription guidelines, the FT might just encourage other publications to make the same move. Ben Evans notes, however, that the grass isn't always greener on the other side:
    Article Link: Financial Times Won't Give Apple A Cut, Drops iOS for Web App
  2. swb1192 macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    The problem with having a web-based app is that people associate the web with free content. Apps are usually different, where people expect in-app purchases, subscriptions, etc.
  3. theheadguy macrumors 65816

    Apr 26, 2005
    Good for them. If you have the power and the will to survive without reliance on the Apple ecosystem, I say do it.
  4. WiiDSmoker macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2009
    Hermitage, TN
    Good. Hopefully Apple realize what a dickish move they are trying to make.
  5. dustinsc macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2009
    Come on Apple. If you ask for 10% you'll keep your content providers and get a cut. I'm sure if you just quit pretending 30% is some sort of magic number, you'd make more money and have happier devs and customers.
  6. keruah macrumors member

    Apr 24, 2009
    I love Apple, but hope that more companies will do the same.
  7. wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    I'm glad they are doing this. Apple is being a bit too greedy.
  8. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011
    Well, I don't know... sure, they have to give 30% to Apple but at the end of the day they receive 70% and even though it's not as profitable, it surely is widespread with so many millions of iOS devices browsing the iTunes App Store, even if it's just so that it may appear on this place they will at very least get the attention they would otherwise not get.

    They most likely performed a study on whether that option was more or less viable than launching the HTML5 platform and decided to go for it. Whatever suits them, as long as the customer views the site with the same ease
  9. chameleon81 macrumors 6502

    May 16, 2006
    You never read financial times online did you?
  10. kyeblue, Jun 7, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2011

    kyeblue macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2003
    Long Island, New York
    good for them

    newspaper that requires paid web content with solid reader bases such as WSJ and now NYT should follow. The only problem, for which I am not sure and is important to me, is if webapp offers offline reading. But I hate the idea that 30% of my subscription goes to Apple and in application purchase in general, and will make sure that all my subscription goes to newspaper.

    Apple may re-consider the universal 30% cut policy and engage in case by case negotiation. At the end, for FT and WSJ, webapp makes more sense as it eliminate the effort for making apps for different smartphone platforms. With Google Wallet or alike payment platforms, purchase through web would also be much easier.
  11. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK
    Looks like we're going full circle: when the iPhone was first released, the only apps available were web apps. These were widely derided and Apple buckled under pressure and added native apps. Now it looks like more companies such as FT will revert to Web Apps to avoid paying Apple "their" 30% cut for subscriptions...
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007

    App is faster (if done right), can take offline. And there are more potential customers through the app store / itunes.

    Would you want 100% fee of 1000 customers or 70% fee of 10000 customers?
  13. tompw macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2011
    If you sell e-books, you have to give 70% (or more) of the sales price to the author... if Apple keeps the other 30%, you wind up with zero. See for example.
  14. reden macrumors 6502a

    Aug 30, 2006
    Well done FT. Business is business, but Apple has taken the App store too far, which is why they risk having a marginal user base as opposed to Android and other mobile platforms. Seems like the past is replaying itself, just how the Mac OS lost to Windows OS. Sometimes companies don't learn from their mistakes.
  15. 50548 Guest

    Apr 17, 2005
    Currently in Switzerland
    As a current FT subscriber, I say DON'T DO IT. The native iOS app is MILES ahead of this makeshift HTML5 effort, which obviously can't even keep offline content available for reading.

    I really hope they stop this BS bickering and keep the app, which has received many design awards since the debut of the web-based initiative can replace it.

    Although the FT has the rare privilege of NOT needing to run after subscribers, given its high-end audience and quality articles, they'd better not risk losing any because of such an arrogant approach.
  16. spazzcat macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2007
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/534.32 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8F190 Safari/6533.18.5)

    People don't get this fact. Look at the pubs that have moved to the new model. They picked up a lot new people...
  17. Stella macrumors 604


    Apr 21, 2003
    I used the "Toronto Star" and Global And Mail apps. These were free apps with no subscription.

    They download loaded content and cached it. If you weren't online later the apps would display what it could, and it didn't take very long to download all available content either.

    Worked very well IMO. These apps were basically native apps of the web based versions. Same content.
  18. WannaGoMac macrumors 68000

    Feb 11, 2007
    FT webapp DOES work offline

    BTW the FT web app DOES work offline. It stores 1 day of news on the device itself. HTML5 is very capable, and frankly this is a smart move on their part rather than try to support a ton of different devices.
  19. baryon macrumors 68040


    Oct 3, 2009
    But wouldn't that allow developers to bypass Apple's 30% entirely? For example, you could get an empty shell App for free, and download content as an in-app subscription for money.

    Maybe Apple should make a special package for recurring subscriptions for magazines or something...
  20. Porchland macrumors 65816


    Apr 26, 2004
    The iPad news and magazine apps that I regularly use provide a superior user experience to the web versions, but there's a point at which the cost to the consumer outweighs the user experience.

    I'm glad to see a major news outlet push back, and that's not a slant against Apple. This is how markets are supposed to work.
  21. Gasu E. macrumors 601

    Gasu E.

    Mar 20, 2004
    Not far from Boston, MA.
    I highly doubt that Apple can provide that much value. The FT, the WSJ, the NYT, The Economist, etc. have built up massive reputations over many, many years. The target customer is self-identifying and knows how to find the product. Do you actually believe Apple can increase the target base by a factor of 10 for these publications?

    Now, Apple might be helpful to smaller publications that are just getting started. In that case, Apple might deserve their 30%; but the 30% should be capped at some number, for example, $100K per year.
  22. Jcoz macrumors 6502

    Mar 25, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

  23. kyeblue macrumors member

    Nov 25, 2003
    Long Island, New York
    If they lose less than 30% potential subscribers by this move, they win. Although I am not 100% sure, HTML5 should allow offline reading.
  24. onthecoast macrumors member

    Jan 4, 2010
    Ermm.. it does keep offline content no problem. I'm using it as we speak
  25. Kelmon macrumors 6502a


    Mar 28, 2005
    United Kingdom
    I can appreciate the FT's position on all this but, purely from a customer perspective, I'd much rather have an application that downloads my content automatically and holds it offline since data connections seem to be notoriously spotty. You can do quite a lot with web applications these days but I'd always rather have an offline experience.

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