Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time’s Up: The Financial Times Heads Out of iTunes

Apple’s new subscription rules have finally forced a major publisher out of iTunes: The Financial Times’ iPhone and iPad apps have disappeared from the App Store.

The move comes two months after Apple instituted new rules that required developers either to sell subscriptions through iTunes or take down any e-commerce links to outside sites.

The FT, which had been vocal about its opposition to the rules, did neither, and now its apps are gone, though for the present existing downloads will still work.

“We removed the app after amicable discussions with Apple,” says FT spokesman Tom Glover. “ITunes will remain an important channel for new and existing advertising-based apps.”

That makes the financial newspaper the only big player to date to pull a big app out of Apple’s store altogether. Other content companies have either signed on for Apple’s subscription service (the New York Times, Conde Nast) or dropped the links in their apps (Amazon, Hulu, and The Wall Street Journal, which, like this site, is owned by News Corp.).

The FT is directing users to its Web-based app, which it introduced earlier this year amid a back and forth with Apple over the new subscription rules. Glover says the Web app now has 550,000 users, a number he says “has overtaken users on our native Apple iOS apps combined, and it’s now delivering the largest share of subscriptions from our mobile channels.”

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work