There was something of a hullabaloo a few months back when Apple announced the company would begin charging a 30% levy on all subscriptions and content purchased in-app. Or to put it simply, Apple wants a cut of every sale coming through the app store.
Sony was the highest profile opponent when the charge was announced, stating the measures made it impossible for the company to offer an iOS version of its eBook Reader Store. Or to be blunt, there ain’t enough cash in digital content to fork out a third every time someone taps a ‘buy’ button. A few companies have looked into work-arounds; 7digital launched a refreshed HTML5 mobile website for iOS device users, in addition to dedicated Android and BlackBerry apps.
With only a few weeks to go before the 30th June ‘grace period’ is up for all publishers and content holders to update their apps, The Financial Times has come out swinging for Apple’s jaw. The paper has released it’s own HTML5 based web-app, optimised for iPhone and iPad users.
They’re not letting us piece together the obvious ourselves, stating on FT.com the app will “bypass Apple’s iTunes Store, Google’s Android Market and other distributors to secure a direct relationship with readers”.
A direct relationship with readers is the key. By offering their own web-based app, the FT doesn’t have to rely on reader numbers or details from Apple – they come straight to them. However, they’re not canning the iOS app altogether, telling Paid Content “We won’t abandon iOS apps…we won’t remove the subscription functionality from the existing FT app on iOS. We don’t know how that is going to play out yet”.
The FT’s iOS app was very successful last year, bringing in around 10 percent of new digital subscribers. Even the paper’s best and brightest digital minds aren’t sure which horse to back. Approaching readers and potential subscribers from all angles, despite development expense, seems right for now.