The Financial Times digital application has been removed from the iTunes App Store after Apple revised its policy to ensure that it could obtain 30% of all subscription fees purchased within the store itself.
As MacRumours reports, the company revised its pricing policy in the App Store Review Guidelines to include this paragraph:
"11.14 Apps can read or play approved content (specifically magazines, newspapers, books, audio, music, and video) that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app, as long as there is no button or external link in the app to purchase the approved content. Apple will not receive any portion of the revenues for approved content that is subscribed to or purchased outside of the app"
Essentially, this banns leading consumers away from pages inside an application to a company's own independent site, where the customer could purchase subscriptions. If companies did this, Apple wouldn't see any of that subscription money, as the transactions would not go though the Apple App Store.
The Financial Times is not happy with this arrangement.
Hence, in June it released a HTML5 web app, which is designed to run on iPad and iPhone. This allows the company to avoid paying a percentage fee to Apple and also to access data relating which its customers provide in the process of subscribing.
However, as PaidContent reports, during the last year 10% of new digital subscriptions to the F.T. were taken out on iPad, so the fact that the newspaper's application will no longer appear in the App store may be something of a blow to the company.
The publication must convince users to subscribe to the HTML5 application, which simply isn't as convenient has having an application in iTunes, where the many potential subscribers will already have an established account that would allow them to pay and download in seconds.
The Financial Times and their digital subscription growth has often been hailed as an example to the rest of the news industry. Perhaps now they are offering another educational example: don't argue with Apple.