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Financial Times uses HTML5 site to bypass App Store

updated 01:35 pm EDT, Tue June 7, 2011

Publishers still upset about subscription rules

Influential business publication the Financial Times has launched an overhauled HTML5 web app designed explicitly for iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. The interface adjusts to the specific size of a device on the fly, and should run faster than a previous FT web app. The design notably follows Apple look-and-feel standards, and allows for offline reading of the latest issue.

While the Times has in some ways been a strong supporter of iOS, the paper has been strongly resistant to Apple's iTunes subscription rules, which the web app is likely meant to avoid. Although more publishers have come onboard in recent weeks, many have complained about lacking (default) access to customer details, used to provide demographic data to potential advertisers. Apple also requires that any outside app subscription options be matched by in-app ones, where the company claims a 30 percent cut of revenue. In spite of this penalty, in-app subscriptions must cost the same or less.

The Times does offer native iPad and iPhone apps, but these are currently tied to subscription options which Apple is likely to reject once a rules compliance deadline passes later this month. The paper's managing director, Rob Grimshaw, says there are "no plans to pull out of any apps store." Spokesman Tom Glover elaborates that talks with Apple are still in progress when it comes to terms for iTunes subscriptions.




by MacNN Staff

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  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -12

    of course not

    The paper's managing director, Rob Grimshaw, says there are "no plans to pull out of any apps store." Spokesman Tom Glover elaborates that talks with Apple are still in progress when it comes to terms for iTunes subscriptions.

    They wouldn't be pulling out. Apple would be kicking them out.

    And for what? Well, apparently making them offer ways to buy via Apple if they have a way to buy it in-app, AND that they must give iOS users the lowest price they offer anywhere. So, no promotions allowed.

  1. prl99

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    just a web app? then how can it be used off-line?

    If this is a web app, then how can it store the latest issue for use off-line? If it's just using a local file and displaying it through Safari, then you'd still need to purchase each issue. This I guess would be done by constantly updating the app. You have to pay for this some place. Does FT figure every time you access their website, they'll be able to download and store the current issue and not have to pay for this?

  1. facebook_J Scott

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011

    +6

    where is my testudo filter

    There is nothing wrong or illegal about making web apps that people can use for subscriptions. And if they want to keep playing in the App Store, for now, then yes, the pricing cannot be any different than the pricing in the App. However, if the FT gets enough traction to run a pure HTML play, I'm sure that is what they will do. Nothing wrong with that.

    Sure promotions are allowed. The just can't be used to undercut the In-App price so as to create a false demand for a non-app version. So any promotion must also be reflected in the In-App purchase price, too.

    Look no one requires rags to use Apps to publish their content on the iPad. As the FT has done, others can do. The question is whether or not consumers of the content will prefer one over the other without a false price issue being used to kill off the iPad's app version so that the only option is the one that the rag gives you.

  1. mistercleanboise

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    Mental Midget

    I rarely post on here. I mostly lurk and enjoy. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy giving a "thumbs down" to every single ignorant remark by testudo. I sometimes wonder if it isn't really Sarah Palin

  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011

    +3

    HTML5

    I love HTML5. An open way to get around Apple's closed system.

    Go Financial Times.

  1. ggirton

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    HTML 5

    I recommend all you lovers of HTML5 and open systems
    make sure to use HTML5 to do your system backups.

    I'm going with iCloud.

  1. facebook_Black

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Jun 2011

    +5

    @prl99

    HTML 5 storage APIs. Load up the page and sync with their servers. Then turn off your radio, and load up the page again. Voila, articles.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    Re: where is my testudo filter

    And if they want to keep playing in the App Store, for now, then yes, the pricing cannot be any different than the pricing in the App. However, if the FT gets enough traction to run a pure HTML play, I'm sure that is what they will do. Nothing wrong with that.

    No, there isn't anything wrong with that.

    However, you are incorrect on the pricing. It isn't that they can't offer a better deal outside of the app store (and why is that, mind you? Oh, because Apple wants to make sure they get their cut, and if people buy from the outside, they can't). You can't offer a better deal with ANY app. So you can't offer a better deal on Android. How is that not 'restrictive'?

    Sure promotions are allowed. The just can't be used to undercut the In-App price so as to create a false demand for a non-app version. So any promotion must also be reflected in the In-App purchase price, too.

    False demand? What the h*** does apple care about the 'demand', false or otherwise?

    Look no one requires rags to use Apps to publish their content on the iPad. As the FT has done, others can do.

    Except Apple's rules are more restrictive than you state. If you have an app and you want to offer subscriptions, even if you push them yourself, you cannot offer the user to buy the subscription from within the app unless there's an option to go through the Apple store.

    So, if you're the Financial Times, who have no problem writing an app that deals with their servers, gets their content, and handles all processing, delivery, and charging, they still can't put a "subscribe" button within their app at all, or, if they do, there has to be a way to use the iTMS. Please explain what right Apple has in forcing such arcane rules, except as a money grab?

    If I ask Apple to push the content, I should pay for that. But if I want to handle the whole task, apple has no call to put their hands in my cookie jar.

    The question is whether or not consumers of the content will prefer one over the other without a false price issue being used to kill off the iPad's app version so that the only option is the one that the rag gives you.


    That's plain stupid. It's an iPad app. Without the app, they aren't reading. So how exactly do they kill the app but still offer the subscription?

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