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Financial Times may quit iPad without reader details

updated 10:40 pm EST, Tue March 1, 2011

FT publisher Pearson threatens iPad exit

The Financial Times' publisher Pearson late Monday warned it might leave the iPad and iPhone if it couldn't get reader information. CEO Marjorie Scardino was adamant on an investors' call that Pearson was "still talking" to Apple but was concerned that its iTunes subscription rules wouldn't let her newspaper get demographic information to target ads. If it couldn't get what it wanted, it might jump ship to Android tablets and other platforms where that information was readily available.

"The important thing to remember is there are many, many tablets coming out and multiple devices," Scardino said. "If Apple are not happy to give us customer data then maybe we will get it somewhere else."

Apple has so far allowed a handful of information to go through, such as names and area codes, but is making it a strictly opt-in process that users can decline while still signing up. Publishers have vocally opposed the strategy since it creates a much less complete picture of readers, limited only to eager subscribers who wouldn't necessarily represent the majority of the reader base. Although not mentioned by Pearson's chief during the call, the 30 percent cut has also been contentious for publishers that didn't have the leeway in their business models to cede that much revenue.

The FTC is believed to be investigating Apple's policies for possible anti-competitiveness, mostly over terms that force companies to offer their best deal through iTunes and to prevent them from using any of their existing subscription systems or even acknowledging that they exist in the app.

The FT and other publications, if they refuse to accept Apple terms, are very likely to switch or stick to Android through Google's One Pass system or a method of their own. The approach hands publishers more customer information and also takes a much smaller cut of in-app purchases. They may also get a smaller but equally receptive base through the HP TouchPad. [via The Guardian]

by MacNN Staff



    Comment buried. Show
  1. ilovestevejobs

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Grow some balls and just do it! Why bother talking to crApple or even making this article hit the web?

    Just dump the iPad!!

  1. OldMacGeek

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Marjorie.

  1. jhawk95

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Bon Voyage!

    Don't let the door hit you in the A$$!

    I won't use your app again beginning now! Who needs you. Too many other ways to get good financial data and news without sacrificing my privacy.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Inkling

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple's folly

    Apple is being foolish. This isn't 2003, when the iTunes Store completely dominated digital music sales. For digital books, Apple's iBookstore is running a poor third, well behind Barnes & Noble and miles behind Amazon. Apple has yet to demonstrate that they're going to do any better with online magazine subscriptions.

    Even iPad sales mean little. In most cases, publishers can reach their iPad subscribers through browsers. In a year or two, Droid touchpads are likely to be inexpensive enough that giant publishers like Pearson will be able to give them away in exchange for a two-year subscription--a move not all that different from Apple's successful iPhone policy.

  1. coffeetime

    Joined: Dec 1969


    They can leave

    I'll just bookmark their website and it's the same thing. Like jhawk95 said, there are many other options.

  1. PRoth

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Good point, coffeetime but: question

    What demographic information does Financial Times get from visitors to their website? Is it optional to provide that information to them?

    Privacy is an hot-button issue to most people, so if FT for example, takes away the option that respects privacy a bit more, and jumps ship to Android where Google is evil with respect to information, won't they lose some readers to competing publications that do?

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Run Run Run Run Run Run Run

    AwAAAY. Publishing and in app purchasing apps.

  1. facebook_Patent

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Mar 2011


    Patent Litigation

    Here is a similar story

    A major consulting group has said that the "sweet spot" for tablets will be sub $200 and that products like the new iPad 2 and the new Motorola Xoom could well be "over engineered". They also claim that consumers who purchase content online will pay between $5 and $10 for an eBook.
    The Financial Times claims that the BCG conducted a similar survey before the iPad hit the market last year, and that the main change it saw was awareness, with two-thirds of consumers now somewhat or very familiar with e-readers and tablets in December 2010, up from 54 per cent in March.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    And the loser will be?

    Marjorie. One, she has a huge stake in Apple. She bought Powerschool from Apple in lieu of huge stock opts way back. She can dump the stock or may have already done so. Ms Scardino's Texas style threats don't cut with Apple much. FT is a well regarded newspaper but it is mostly British. The App based readership of FT is higher on the iPad and iPhone as most users on this platform are more likable to pay a subscription. Most users on Android like free rides.

    Pearson is anyways a non-Apple company. They want to move away from all Apple products including moving almost all of their school learning and management software to Windows. The biggest problem with Pearson - it has become too big for itself and there is no clear leadership.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why do newspapers think that just because it is possible to obtain demographic information, they are entitled to it? When I buy a newspaper or magazine from a news-stand, the publisher gets zero, zip information about me, its totally anonymous. Just because it might be possible to steal an apple from the fruit-stand next door, doesn't mean I'm entitled to take it, either. Corporations need to learn that they can't have everything they want, period. Oh, BTW, the Financial Times did a wonderful and insightful job of warning on the imminent global financial collapse a few years back. Not!

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