Via Reuters, Financial Times claims Web-based app more popular than App Store app, offers no hard proof

“More than 700,000 people use the Financial Times’ Web-based mobile application to access news and other content, making it more popular than the version sold in Apple’s App Store,” Jennifer Saba reports for Reuters.

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, really? That’s interesting; can’t wait to see the proof.

Saba reports, “The FT was one of the first major publishers to reduce its dependence on Apple Inc and go out with an HTML5-based mobile application that can be read by any browser, thus bypassing the App Store. Managing Director Rob Grimshaw told Reuters that the new Web-based app was drawing more traffic than the version that was sold through the App Store. ‘People who are using the app are spending much more time with the content,’ he said. ‘They are consuming about three times as many pages through the app as they are through the desktop in an average visit.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Wait, what? Wasn’t the version that FT offered in the App Store pulled around the time Apple launched their subscription service? Yes, it was, as Saba reports in her full piece (and we do mean piece).

Also how long were the App Store app and the current Web app available? For the exact same amounts of time; you know, for an accurate comparison as to which one was actually more popular? Highly doubtful. Even if the time spans matched, they don’t have and have never had a comparable App Store app featuring subscriptions with which to measure the so-called success of their Web app against. Therefore, no proof, just a claim.

A claim nonetheless reported as fact by Reuters’ lazy and/or incompetent and/or willing accomplice of a “reporter” under the headline: “FT Web-based app more popular than app sold in Apple store.” Par for the course in too many media outlets today, sadly. Also: Comparing time spent with the Web app vs. time spent on the FT site on a desktop browser has nothing to do with Apple’s App Store, just to be perfectly clear.

Saba reports, “Apple takes a 30 percent cut of subscription revenue from users who sign up for apps in the store. More problematic is that Apple wants to control subscriber data — valuable demographic information used by magazines and newspapers to sell advertising — from people who sign up for the app in the store.”

MacDailyNews Take: Problematic for whom, Jenny? For the publishers, that’s who. Not for the consumer. With App Store subscriptions, Apple’s on the side of the consumer yet again. Anytime you read differently, it’s highly likely coming from a publication (sometimes via a friendly and/or gullible reporter) that wants to continue to be able to force your name, address, telephone number, email address, credit card number, credit card security code, job title, job responsibility, and industry from you at the time of subscription. We’d rather have Apple closely hold the data than have it strewn among multiple media companies for them to sell to marketeers.

Saba reports, “”App stores are actually quite strange environments,” Grimshaw said. ‘They are cut off from most of the Web ecosystem.’ A simple message on the top of the FT’s Web site has been an effective marketing tool, he added. ‘The world outside the App Store is not cold and desperate. Discovery is no problem at all.'”

Full press release – Think Before You Click™here.

MacDailyNews Take: Discovery is no problem at all when you can get your talking points reported as fact by Reuters. Free propaganda, hooray! Show us the numbers, Reuters, or apologize and retract the article. Reuters and their so-called reporter Jennifer Saba should be ashamed.

To complain, contact Reuters via Web form

Related articles:
French papers team up in attempt to force Apple into concessions on subscriptions – September 21, 2011
Apple’s subscription policy changes likely to lead to influx of content for iOS devices – June 9, 2011
Financial Times hopes against hope they can skirt Apple’s iPad app subscription rule – April 4, 2011
Financial Times owner Pearson threatens to go ‘somewhere else’ over Apple’s iPad app subscription rules – March 1, 2011
The Independent foments ‘discontent’ over Apple, but presents precious little evidence – February 22, 2011
App Store subscriptions: Apple’s on the side of the consumer yet again – February 17, 2011
Apple debuts subscription service on the App Store; Steve Jobs: ‘Brand new opportunity’ for content publishers – February 15, 2011


  1. I love the FT. and I don’t read it any more. Reason? 1) No app in app store 2) outrageous online price. I get the print version, and for the price I get to suspend delivery, bitch about late delivery and get excellent service in the sense that they extend my subscription to fill missed deliveries with future deliveries. I wish they were as smart on the electronic side.

  2. Webapps? Hum! Nice idea… But who will filter the trash of malwares and stuff? Will we have to pour all bunch of anti-viruses into our Mac?
    HTML5 is a super thing… but beware cloudy undetermined apps crowling all over the web!…

  3. I think they are right. we reached the dumbest point in history. why do you need an app to read a newspaper when you could just use a browser? if people love icons so much cna’t htey just have an icon that works as a link? viruses? from the FT? mah!

  4. Come on MDN. It doesn’t take a genius to understand why an HTML5 app is BETTER for the company who makes it. That was Jobs ORIGINAL plan, remember. The App Store was bolted on.

    In addition, HTML5 apps are open to Android, Win7 and Blackberry ecosystems. The barrier to entry is also less. No need to go to an app store.

    If an app won’t have a CLEAR benefit from close integration with the hardware, it should ALWAYS be built using open standards. That, in the end, is better for the consumer. It’s better for the consumer who decides to change phones as their “apps” can go with them.

    It’s better for the consumer in that they can own a an android, an iPad and have the app work between the two.

    No need for the vitriolic takes on this one, methinks.

      1. +1
        OP and that dude “I’m not anti-Apple in real life just play one on the web” mcfarland missed the point completely.

        Apple is anything but anti-HTML5, they were the catalyst and the true champion that has ushered in the replacement of the proprietary flash by HTML5. Google, on the other hand, had incorporated Flash, backtracking real fast against HTML5, in both Chrome and Android just to create a perceived advantage/differentiation with Apple’s consumer centric goals (less bugs, longer battery, proprietary development platform on top of mobile platform etc.)

        Meanwhile, FT had not only left App Store (unwilling to part with 30% cut) which is completely fair. However, they chose to make such a public stinkaroo about this voluntary decision, as if Apple isn’t allowed to have a business plan. That’s where many of were turned off by FT.

        So, when they make any claims that their web strategy has been more successful than the their native app strategy (a welcoming thing either way), it is certainly not unreasonable to expect some facts to back their claims. That’s precisely what MDN did. Leave it to posters like dude mcfarland to miss those points completely even after you tried clue them in.


    1. Pretty much agree man.

      As for the proof MDN wants? Who gives a rip! MDN gets its panties in a bunch over anything they percieve to be against what Apple inc wants.

      Lets face it, apple’s terms for publisher’s is a raw deal and they would be idiots to not find better options.

        1. What is there to verify? That 700,000 people actually use the site?

          To me the whole thing reads like an editorial. Lots of opinion thrown in.

          Besides if its all crap they’ll change their model. They’ll have no choice

      1. “Lets face it, apple’s terms for publisher’s is a raw deal and they would be idiots to not find better options.”
        Really? In what fantasy world? Before Apple set up the iBook store Amazon were taking 70% and the publishers were having to suck it up. It was Apple who forced Amazon to capitulate and agree to 30%.
        You’re either ignorant, stupid or have a carefully selective memory.

    2. I used the FT App until a pop-up advised me to “upgrade” to the newer version.

      The App version isn’t as rich as the web version. Intentional? Who knows, but I’m thinking more people use the web app because they are advised to “upgrade” to the web app, thereby reducing the number of App users. I doubt seriously that the App users access FT less than web app users. There’s just more web app users is all.

  5. Native iOS apps can offer far more than any Web app could ever hope to provide.

    Just like the rest of the publishers who are whining about Apple instead of working with them, FT just wants your personal data so they can sell it to the highest bidder.

  6. Folks should bear in mind that every time you open the FT app today, the first thing you have to deal with is an annoying popup that says “FT has moved to the web, please hit this button to convert your FT subscription” or whatever. I hit cancel each time instead but can imagine why people might get tired of that spam and eventually switch over (I actually DO prefer the downloaded app, sorry FT). It isn’t like people are choosing the web version over the app, they are being specifically directed towards it from within the app! Even the advertisements are telling the FT app reader to switch out of the app because it is no longer being supported.

    What a load of malarkey to point to people using the web version as proof people are naturally switching over for some better experience or whatnot. Regular readers of FT, those who will spend lots of time with it….are the ones most likely to be inundated with the popups and ads “forcing” members to make the switch.

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