∞ Financial Times drops iPad app, replaces with Web site

The Financial Times has pulled its iPad app from App Store circulation, replacing it with what the publication calls “a new, faster, more complete app” – a customized Web site – instead.

“We’re encouraging our readers to switch immediately to the new FT web app, as many new features and sections will be added over the coming weeks,” reads copy on the Financial Times Web site.

The change was motivated by Apple’s in-app subscription policy, which requires publishers to fork over 30 percent of their revenue on subscriptions purchased within their applications. Apple changed its policy at the end of June, after first announcing it with the introduction of News Corp.’s The Daily iPad application in February.

The decision hasn’t sat well with some publishers, who have had to pull their apps or update them to remove subscription functions. Amazon.com, for example, is encouraging iPad users to try its Kindle Cloud Reader Web site instead, which provides similar functionality as its Kindle iOS app but also enables users to buy new Kindle content.

  • Kevin Hayes

    Uhm… don’t these publishers fork over 30% or more to newsstands that sell their publication? Is it that unfair for Apple, which brings eyes to their publication, to take 30%? Maybe it is, I’m not in that profession.

    It seems this is just FT wanting to keep the profits to themselves. It’s not like Apple wasn’t adding value here. I guess time will tell how much value Apple was adding.

    • Anonymous

      Well, I don’t have a problem with what you’re describing. The user experience will be different, and we (or actually FT) will see if it affects their bottom line. Though users will cease to have a choice: Amazon still has its Kindle app, I think, and users can choose to use that or the Cloud Reader web app; FT will now only offer the web app, so that will probably help them avoid comparisons on the user experience. Unless I’m misunderstanding something.

    • The problem with Apple is twofold – the 30% (which is steep – equal to the entire distribution cost of a physical newspaper, according to a Google study), and the content policy (likely not a problem for FT, but is for others like Playboy (which went webapp in April)).

      “just FT wanting to keep the profits to themselves” is more likely to be  FT just trying to survive.

  • Page

    Doesn’t look good. Very lazy of them.

  • I’ll be interested to hear whether the FT’s subscriber numbers improve after this.

    • I’d love to see those number in a few months, too. If I had to guess, I’d say no.

  • Good on them. They didn’t like Apple’s terms, so they found another way and whined only a bit.

    If God gives you lemons, you find a new God.

    [Not my quote, but whoever guesses it first, gets 100 internet gummy points.]

    • Peter Cohen


  • If this was happening to RIM, mockery and chortles would abound.  This shows that Apple is simply neglecting certain aspects of its business.

    • Exactly how does this show that Apple is neglecting parts of its business?

  • I’ve used both FT apps and the difference isn’t huge.  One big pitfall of the web app is that each time you launch it, it takes you to the home page rather than where you left off.  If they can fix this, the web app will almost match the iPad app perfectly IMO. 

    The move by FT has also inspired us to look at developing web apps that look like iPad apps to avoid the palaver with registering with Apple/iTunes and using that as a distribution platform.

    • Page

      Two things to consider, FT did not utilize the full potential of the iPad in delivering their app. Second, iTunes is not just an app delivery method it’s also a tremendous marketing platform. You are paying for exposure as well as app delivery (and even some testing by Apple themselves).