New rules governing App Store content means Apple (a) takes a 30% cut of subscription revenues, and (b) crucially – as far as the Financial Times is concerned – retains customer details.
The Financial Times tells the Guardian it’s currently in a “Mexican standoff” with Apple, but has come up with a cheeky way to circumvent the App Store’s new rules, thus denying Apple its share.
Customers wishing to subscribe to the Financial Times can do so through its HTML5-based 'web app' (check it out at apps.ft.com). It’ll allow the FT to keep its revenue and access subscriber info.
Rob Grimshaw, MD of the Financial Times website, told the Guardian: "It would be a backward step for us to go into relationships where we are denied access directly to readers, the existing business has been driven by that.
"We are also wary what we pay to third parties. With the existing model we don't pay anything, now while I don't rule it out giving away a third of the revenue is not right."
If an agreement isn’t reached by June 30th, Apple’s deadline, the Financial Times app could be blocked from the App Store.
On the plus side, the new HTML5-based app will be tailored for not just the iPhone and iPad, but also the horde of Android and RIM smartphones and tablets.
"The idea originated in the middle of last year when we realised how much effort was involved in making apps for all the devices available," Grimshaw explains. "It was months of work and as apps get more complicated was going to become a bigger and bigger problem and cost. This is the main thrust of our strategy for mobile development, it is not just about making a commercial point [to Apple]."
Apple’s Christmas card list is getting shorter by the week.