Financial Times threatens Apple over subscription rules

Apple's stricter app subscription demands could see their first high-profile casualty, with the Financial Times threatening to look to other distribution methods should negotiations around direct relationships collapse. "We don't want to lose our direct relationship with our subscribers. It's at the core of our business model," managing director Rob Grimshaw told Reuters. While the paper is in talks with Apple, Grimshaw maintains that "If it turns out that one or another channel doesn't mix with the way we want to do business, there's a large number of other channels available to us."

Those alternative channels could include a renewed focus on Android. The FT already has an app for Android tablets – which launched last year for the Galaxy Tab – and with Honeycomb devices now on the market that segment is only likely to grow. Alternatively, it could switch to a web-based distribution for iPad and other iOS devices.

Grimshaw suggests that, while other publishers may not find Apple's tightening subscription policies limiting, the FT's established digital drive means they have more to lose in conceding. The publishing market as a whole is in a different situation" he claims, pointing to the fact that 40-percent of the FT's revenues last year were from its digital arm.

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