FT pulls app over customer data dispute with Apple

FT on iPhone The FT already offers a web-based app accessible on Apple devices

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The Financial Times has withdrawn its app for iPhones and iPads after a dispute with Apple over ownership of customer data.

Apple insisted sales must take place via its App Store, giving it ownership of the data and a 30% cut of revenues.

However the newspaper, owned by media group Pearson, will continue to be accessible by Apple devices via a browser-based web app.

The decision to pull its apps followed months of negotiations.

About 25% of the FT's sales come via its website, and mobile devices comprise some 22% of the traffic on ft.com.

An FT spokesman said the disagreement with Apple was "amicable", and the newspaper still intended to offer other apps via the App Store, including one for its weekend luxuries magazine How to Spend It.

However, any future App Store offerings would be funded via advertising, not subscriptions, thereby avoiding a repeat of its dispute with Apple.

'Not practical'

The FT originally launched its web browser as a way of simplifying the development process by providing a common point of access for all devices.

"The main factors on our mind when we launched app.ft.com were that it just isn't practical to maintain separate development for each individual technology platform," Stephen Pinches, the FT's group product manager for emerging technologies, told the BBC previously.

"We are planning to push our web app out to multiple platforms this year: Android, PlayBook, WebOS and others, and this really is the most logical and strategic approach."

The newspaper expects to launch the Android version of the web app in the next two months.

The web app uses open HTML5 code, which is viewable via any internet browser, including Apple's Safari.

But, having failed to end the impasse with Apple over customer data, the newspaper is now going a step further, cancelling its App Store app altogether and encouraging Apple customers to switch to the web app.

Other firms are also gravitating towards browser-based applications as a way of by-passing Apple's sales platform.

Amazon launched a web app for its Kindle eBook reader earlier this month that was specifically tailored for iPad users.

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