The Financial Times has launched a new web-based app for the iPhone and iPad in an apparent bid to side-step Apple’s new rules on subscriptions for newspapers and magazines.
Earlier this year the computer maker announced all publishers wishing to sell subscriptions to iTunes users would need to offer subs via iTunes as well as their own websites and would be subject to the same 30% commission rate as apps.
Speaking in February Apple CEO Steve Jobs said: “Our philosophy is simple—when Apple brings a new subscriber to the app, Apple earns a 30 percent share; when the publisher brings an existing or new subscriber to the app, the publisher keeps 100 percent and Apple earns nothing.”
The move was unpopular with some publishers who were unhappy both with the requirement that an iTunes subscription could not cost more than a sub offered elsewhere and with the need to ask subscribers to opt-in to a transfer of their contact details.
The FT is first major publisher to quit the App Store in favour of a web-based app.
In a blogpost it says “No more updates to the existing app will be published from the iTunes store” and says readers wishing to use the latest version of the app should always navigate to http://app.ft.com from their device’s web browser.
Readers can access the FT’s content free during the launch week, after which they’ll need to register to access to ten free articles a month or take out a subscription.
In a statement the FT says the HTML5-powered app will be “be adapted across growing number of other tablets” including the BlackBerry PlayBook.
Writing on FT.com, head of mobile Steve Pinches, 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.”