Financial Times Introduces Web App in Effort to Bypass Apple
By ERIC PFANNER June 7, 2011
PARIS - The Financial Times on Tuesday introduced a mobile Web application aimed at luring readers away from Apple's iTunes App Store, throwing down the gauntlet over new business conditions that Apple is set to impose on publishers who sell digital subscriptions via iTunes.
A number of publishers have expressed their displeasure with Apple's plan to retain 30 percent of the revenue from subscriptions sold on iTunes, and to keep customer data from such sales, beginning at the end of June. At the same time, mobile applications are a fast-growing source of new readers and revenue, so publishers have been reluctant to pull their applications from the iTunes store.
The Financial Times, the British daily, has tried to get around this problem by designing a new app that includes much of the functionality of an iPad or iPhone application, while residing on the open Web. It employs a new Web technology standard called HTML5, which allows programmers to create a single application that can run on a variety of devices, including Apple's iPhone and iPad, Google's Android system and the BlackBerry PlayBook, although the new app does not work on some versions of the devices.
The Financial Times said it would encourage users of its iPad and iPhone applications to migrate to the new app. It said it did not plan to comply with Apple's proposed conditions, even if that meant Apple removed the existing applications from iTunes.