Much news was made when Apple decided that they will take a 30% cut of any subscription to newspaper or magazine sold through their Newsstand, and for good reason. Most publishers are still struggling to turn digital into profit and Apple taking 30% from their margins alongside leaving the publishers out in the cold with subscriber information is not a great position to be in. If a publishers signs up to that Apple subscription model what is to stop Apple increasing their percentage at a later date, and with them holding all the subscriber information the publisher would just have to submit.
In response to that move, the Financial Times have brought out a pure HTML5 Web App which not only means they can keep all subscription income and subscriber details, but also it should mean one app across all devices whether they are Apple iOS, Android, Windows 7 Phone, or WebOS. A single platform for mobile devices should help them keep development costs down whilst also expanding their possible userbase as they note in the FT Wepp App Q&A:
“…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.”
The announcement is a rather well timed poke at Apple coming the day after the WWDC Conference, with Financial Times CEO John Ridding stating:
“The FT Web App offers our customers flexibility and freedom of choice with access to our global journalism anytime, anywhere, with a single login or subscription. In a world of increasingly digital complexity we want to keep our service simple, easy to use and efficient to offer our customers the best possible experience of FT journalism.”
The Web app has been initially optimized for the iPhone and the iPad, but it will also be soon adapted for Android-based devices and the BlackBerry PlayBook. Either way it is cross platform and free to try out for the next week before returning the the general FT paywall of 10 free articles per month for registered users