Financial Times Creates HTML 5 App, Avoids Apple’s Fees

Last month, we wrote about the stalemate between the Financial Times and Apple after Apple implemented new in-app purchasing rules, namely a 30% cut of sales through the App Store and access to subscriber data.

As it turns out, the Financial Times has opted not to comply with Apple’s rules, and instead, has found a way to skirt around the issue by avoiding the App Store all together. There’s now a new HTML 5 version of Financial Times specifically for use on mobile browsers.

The Financial Times new app website reads, “We’ve launched a new, faster, more complete app for the iPad and iPhone, which is available via your browser rather than from an app store.”

They go on to encourage their readers to switch immediately to their new web app, by navigating to FT also gives instructions to users on how to add an FT link to the home screen of their iDevice, which looks remarkably like an actual app.

I checked out the HTML 5 app, which is simple to use, and visually appealing, but somewhat slow. Free access to the app is available during launch week, but after the promo, you’ll need a subscription to read more than ten articles per month.

Features include: Offline reading, all access through a single subscription, speed, specific smart phone design, and special content from FT blogs.

Automatic updates and browser access are other included perks, but FT’s app is definitely not quite up to par. Images take awhile to load, scrolling is jumpy, and flipping between pages gives a noticeable delay.

This is definitely one way to get by without giving in to Apple’s demands. The FT’s new web app, while not perfect, is still quite useable. According to John Ridding, CEO of the Financial Times, “This is our best app yet, and it is an important step in our strategy of providing multi-channel access to our global journalism quickly and simply.”

So far, the Financial Times’ native iPad app is still available in the App Store, but they won’t be adopting Apple’s subscription policy and will instead direct users to their web app, a move that will likely get the free iPad/iPhone app removed from the App Store once Apple’s June 30th deadline rolls around.


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