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FT could dump iPad over subscription impasse

The Financial Times is threatening to walk away from the iPad platform if the Apple doesn't play nice when it comes to sharing out the subscriptions cash.

The Cupertino company announced in February that it would be selling to subscriptions to iOS apps with updated content and keeping a 30 per cent slice of the revenue if subscribers signed up using Apple's iTunes App Store.

Outfits like the Financial Times would be allowed to keep 100 per cent of the cash if they pulled in the punters themselves, but wouldn't be allowed to undercut the iTunes price tag.

A Reuters report today suggests the FT's managing director Rob Grimshaw is less than happy with the deal. "We don't want to lose our direct relationship with our subscribers. It's at the core of our business model," Rob Grimshaw said in an interview.

He also said that he was hopeful negotiations with Apple would end amicably, but dropped a warning in a thinly veiled threat that a defection to Android could be on the cards. "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."

Although no specific numbers for the iPad platform are available, the Apple device is thought to have driven subscriptions to as many as 590,000 paying punters, as compared to an all-time peak of 440,000 for the pink paper version.

Digital revenues account for more than 40 per cent of the FT's subscription income leading Grimshaw to remark, "We have something to lose. The publishing market as a whole is in a different situation."

Only time will tell if Apple will make a special case for the venerable financial institution, but we'd be surprised to see either party walking away from the mutually beneficial relationship without exploring all possible avenues for agreement.