I’ve written about the FT’s excellent HTML5 web app previously here.
After a concerted effort by FT to get its subscribers to switch from their native ipad/iphone apps to the paper’s HTML5 web app, they have now pulled those native subscription apps from the App Store. Bravo!
While this approach won’t work for all content owners, it clearly sets the stage for others to follow suit. Those publishers that own – and want to continue to own – direct subscriber relationships, can provision HTML5 web apps that deliver an excellent customer experience directly via their desktop and mobile websites. No percentage paid to Apple, more fluid development/upgrades, no review process and all the customer data a publisher typically enjoys.
I can’t be sure how many subs the FT has via the HTML5 web app. PaidContent and Mediapost both speculate in recent coverage, but I can’t glean a clear answer (please help me out if you can). The FT decision to pull the apps from the store certainly suggests they are happy with the numbers and how they are trending.
It will be interesting to see which publishers follow FT’s lead here. The NYTimes has a great Chrome web app and others are working away on HTML5 executions of one kind or another. Apps are not going away, but I predict HTML5 web apps will be a priority for many over the next twelve months.